METAIRIE, La. – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney marked the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with attacks Friday against the controversial national law that was modeled largely on the pioneering law he signed in Massachusetts.
“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 in a USA Today op-ed piece. He also announced a new team of health care advisers and held a “repeal and replace” event in Louisiana, which has a GOP primary on Saturday.
Romney said here that while his GOP rivals have all said they would repeal the health care law, he is the only one who has offered a replacement. He said his plan would allow states to go in different directions and any federal role would be to strengthen the private insurance market. “I'd like, instead of having the government come in and mandate price and cost controls, I would like to have individuals have a greater incentive to shop around, and make this act more like a market,” he said.
The former Massachusetts governor praised Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, whom former governor Jeb Bush has said he’d like to see as Romney’s vice presidential pick, for his critique of the law. He said Rubio pointed out that “even if Obamacare were a perfect piece of legislation, and it’s not, he said we can't afford $1 trillion of new federal spending.”
Romney also said that “young people coming up through the education ranks are not going to want to become doctors in the future, because of Obamacare. That's one of the great disadvantages and threats that Obamacare represents.”
And he noted that the White House does not have any plans to trumpet the anniversary. “You’ll note the White House is not celebrating Obamacare today,” he said. “They don’t have any big, big ceremony going on. The president is not giving speeches on Obamacare and that’s for a reason. Most Americans want to get rid of it.”
The administration did release a new report highlighting benefits of the law. The Obama campaign, meanwhile, sent vice president Joe Biden on the road to attack Romney’s views on health care. The campaign also circulated a memo headlined “TODAY’S MITT ROMNEY WANTS TO LET INSURANCE COMPANIES WRITE THEIR OWN RULES WHILE SENIORS AND AMERICANS THAT GET SICK FEND FOR THEMSELVES.”
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney put in place a mandate that individuals buy coverage “to ensure all Massachusetts residents were taking responsibility for their own health care and everyone could get covered at a lower cost. He called his health care reform plan a national model. Now that he is running for President, Mitt Romney apparently no longer believes in these things.”