Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney attacked the health care reform law Saturday in his first speech before the New Hampshire Republicans this year.
Romney's critique focused heavily on what he called the bad policy and economic impact of the health care law. Romney has been a critic of the health care law in the past but Saturday's speech further pushes the former Massachusetts governor's position into the national spotlight.
"Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and it is bad for America's families," Romney said. “I would repeal Obamacare, if I were ever in a position to do so.”
Romney also addressed the apparent conflict between his attacks on the Obama plan and the Massachusetts individual mandate he helped enact. He defended the plan as an experiment to address the specific problems of his state, not the nation as a whole. In the past, Obama has referred to Romney’s statewide mandate as a model for the national health care law.
"Our experiment wasn't perfect — some things worked, some didn't, and some things I'd change," Romney said.
Though Romney has not yet begun the official process of opening a presidential exploratory committee he is widely expected to be a key player in the 2012 GOP primary race. Moreover, the speech was closely tailored to courting potential tea party voters. He focused heavily on separation of powers and constitutionality — key issues for small-government tea party supporters.
"One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover," Romney said. "The federal government isn't the answer for running health care any more than it's the answer for running Amtrak or the post office."