In the Wall Street Journal ($), Mitt Romney seeks to distance himself from HillaryCare II:
The new plan is slated to cost $110 billion a year. And to pay for the new entitlement -- a tax hike. That in turn will slow down the economy and make the cost of her system grow even higher. By contrast, both the reforms I led in Massachusetts and the federalist reform plan I recently proposed do not raise taxes or increase spending.
...I chose an individual mandate only after we had done our best to reform state insurance regulations -- lowering premiums by as much as 50%.
Let's be clear here: My plan in Massachusetts worked very differently than Sen. Clinton's plan would. First, we worked to reduce the burdens of regulation. The legislature insisted on more coverage mandates and regulation than I would have liked, but even so, less regulation has resulted in much lower premiums.
Governor Romney believed at one point that he was going to do all these things--cover the uninsured, simplify regulations, lower costs, and avoid increased government spending. And that is what he remembers having done.
Reality is a bit different. Health insurance in Massachusetts is still highly regulated. If anything, regulations are stiffer. Some people who already had health insurance found that under the new law their health insurance policies do not meet the mandate!
Finally, the cost of the plan proved far higher than Romney projected. This makes the claim about no increase in spending or taxes untenable.
Romney remembers a plan that was in his dreams. What was actually feasible, enacted, and implemented is rather different.