One of the minor sub plots in Grubergate is Gruber's accusation that Ted Kennedy screwed U.S. taxpayers out of $400 million (or is it billion?). If you have seen that story, what you're reading about Ted Kennedy and Massachusetts is beyond misleading. For all intents and purposes, Ted Kennedy never even lived here in Massachusetts and certainly never had any major involvement in state issues. Like many people, he summered on Cape Cod (we here on Cape Cod thank you for the business but wish you would stay out of your cars once you get here; just walk the beach and leave the roads to us full timers).
The initial Massachusetts Medicaid waiver (circa 1998) was hatched under a Republican gubernatorial administration in Massachusetts (not Romney who had not parachuted in here yet to screw up the state) when there was a Republican Congress in Washington. I'm sure Senator Kennedy and the rest of our Democratic Congressional delegation did good constituent service to help smooth the waiver's way through a then Democratic administration in Washington.
But there was nothing unusual about it; dozens of states had such Medicaid waivers.
These documenta are called "demonstration waivers" and what Massachusetts tried to demonstrate -- unsuccessfully -- was that it would be better to spend its share of Medicaid on what we and many other states, counties and cities call "free care pools."
We already had such a pool funded by taxes on hospital visits and insurance policies.
At the same time (circa 1998), Massachusetts began guaranteed issue and other policies that are often credited to RomneyCare but that actually predate it by a half dozen years or more1. It is absolutely true that every problem/situation that is beginning to show up now under Obamacare (e.g., ESI crowdout, higher premiums, increased ER wait times, tighter doctor networks, etc. etc.) were all visible and well documented in Massachusetts at the time Obamacare was proposed and passed. But the Republicans could not point them out because Romney was running for President.
1There were three or four "Massachusetts health care reforms" before RomneyCare and this was part of one of them (there have also been four "Massachusetts health care reforms" since RomneyCare, which has now been effectively repealed.)