On the second anniversary of President Obama's landmark health care reform law, and just days before it is reviewed by the Supreme Court, GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney on Friday called for its repeal.
Writing an op-ed in USA TODAY, Romney - who currently holds a large delegate lead in the GOP presidential nomination race -- said it is "past time to abolish the program, root and branch."
"President Obama's program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement, and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives," Romney said. "Whatever the Supreme Court decides about the constitutionality of ObamaCare, we already know that it is bad policy and wrong for America. Abolishing it and putting sensible changes in its place will be one of my highest priorities as president."
Democrats this week have campaigned to promote the health care law, arguing that it extends care to youth and to those with pre-existing conditions. It also boosts preventative care measures such as mammograms and helps seniors with prescription drug costs.
The Supreme Court next week will consider the constitutionality of the law, which continues to divide the American public. Justices will listen to three days of arguments, from Monday to Wednesday, in a case which 26 states have joined to challenge the law.
In the two years since Obama signed the law, public opinion has barely shifted. According to the political website RealClearPolitics, an average of several major polls taken the day after the bill became law showed about 50 percent of the public was opposed to it, with about 43 percent in favor and 7 percent undecided. This week, another polling average showed almost exactly the same numbers.
Romney's argument against the law is one way to shore up himself against attacks from the right, which he has endured repeatedly during the GOP presidential primary process. As governor of Massachusetts, he pushed through a similar health care reform law - a system his critics call "Romneycare" - and it has become public that Obama's advisors consulted with several Romney advisors when crafting the current national law.
In his op-ed, Romney called for a more limited health care system in which states would have more say. He suggested tax benefits for those who purchase insurance outside their jobs, leaving to the states the question of how to care for the poor, uninsured or chronically ill, limits on medical malpractice lawsuits, and guaranteeing that those with pre-existing conditions who have maintained coverage be able to retain that coverage.
Democrats fired back Friday morning, especially at Romney's latter provision. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), said Romney's plan would only allow those with pre-existing conditions to retain their coverage if they stay in their jobs for decades.
"No one works at the same job for 30 years anymore," Harkin said. "This is all politics."
by RTT Staff Writer
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