Four years later, with Romney embarked on a second run for the Oval Office, the growing unpopularity of the Bay State's plan and its association with the national health care law Republicans want to repeal has become the greatest threat to Romney's chances of winning the Republican presidential nomination.
Log onto one of Romney's archived websites from his 2008 campaign for president, AmericansforMitt.com, and you can read about his views on education, immigration, taxes and a half-dozen other issues. The topic of health care is listed, but the text below it has been deleted and a link promising Romney's "in depth" views on the issue has been disabled.
That's because candidate Romney has been working to rewrite his past assertions about his state's troubled health care overhaul to win over Republican primary voters.
Gone is the effusive support Romney professed for the law in 2007, when he said during one GOP debate, "I love it. It's a fabulous program and I'm delighted with the fact that we, in our state, worked together across the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, to find a way to get health care for all of our citizens that's affordable and that's portable."
Now, Romney avoids talking about the specifics of his plan, its escalating costs and other problems. He described it in the last GOP debate as "a state solution. And if people don't like it in our state, they can change it."
Romney stops short of denouncing the Massachusetts plan he implemented, even though it requires residents to buy health insurance, a mandate conservatives deeply oppose. Program costs soared and are still rising, making it the most expensive health care program in the nation. And although more people in Massachusetts now have insurance, costly emergency room visits increased.
Romney's conservative critics, including many Tea Party activists, denounced his candidacy because of his continued support of the Massachusetts health care plan, leaving many to wonder if the issue will threaten his front-runner status, particularly as other candidates attack him on the issue.
"I think it will be a question that follows him all through the primaries," University of New Hampshire political science professor Dante Scala told The Washington Examiner. "Some candidate at some point is going to draw a contrast between themselves and Romney and I imagine health care will be at the center of that."
No Republicans in the most recent debate, however, challenged Romney on health care. Even former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty took a pass, despite coining the term "Obamneycare" to link Romney's plan to President Obama's unpopular reforms. But they will get another shot at the July 10 debate in Las Vegas.
Complicating Romney's problems is the praise Obama keeps heaping on him, continually reminding people that his national health care reforms, which Republicans want to repeal, are based on Romney's.
The conservative American Spectator called Romney's argument a "federalism dodge." And University of Iowa political science professor Timothy Hagle said it might be hard to convince voters that Romney's health care law is different than the national plan.
"I wasn't overly impressed with that defense," Hagle said. "Generally, voters are not going to see that distinction."