Friday, June 29, 2012

What Will the Candidates Say About Health Care

Jamelle Bouie reminds me of Mitt Romney's response to the ACA ruling, a trademark series of falsehoods and misrepresentations. The question now is, will he continue to argue that he's going to repeal the ACA or is he going to back away from that position? With the law upheld as constitutional, and with many of its provisions being quite popular, calling for a full repeal may turn out to be bad politics. And while lying about the impact of the ACA may work in the short-term, I don't think it's an approach that Romney can successfully sustain through November.

I've heard some argue that President Obama won't want to emphasize his legal victory because the mandate remains very unpopular. That remains the most likely avenue for political attack - unless Romney decides to stay quiet on the issue because of his past vigorous endorsement of mandates, he may continue to press the issue. "What I did as governor was completely different."

I'm wondering, though, if President Obama has been granted an opportunity to trumpet the popular provisions of the ACA. To hammer home the message, "You really don't want this thing repealed."
I am proud of our achievement in passing this legislation, in defending it from attack, in having it upheld as constitutional. I am proud that we are giving every American the opportunity to get health insurance at a fair price. I am proud that we allow young people to stay on their parents' health insurance while they are in college. And whatever my opponent may say, the insurance industry agrees that this is a good law. The CEO of UnitedHealth, one of the largest health insurance companies in the nation, has stated that this law includes changes that "are good for people's health, promote broader access to quality care and contribute to helping control rising health care costs"

My opponent says he has changed his mind since he was governor of Massachusetts, since he took the Republican idea of a health insurance mandate and made it the law of that state. Now he says that he does not like health insurance mandates. When I ran for this Office I shared that opinion. I accepted a health insurance mandate only because I was convinced, in part by arguments my opponent has made, that without a mandate this reform would bankrupt the health insurance industry.

For four years I have been inviting legislatures from both sides of the aisle to come together and create the best possible reform bill. I repeat that invitation, to them and to my opponent. If they have figured out a way for healthcare reform to succeed without a mandate, I invite them to share it. We have more than a month until the August recess begins, and we can have a bill passed within a week.

But the time for divisiveness has passed. We passed this legislation two years ago, and the courts have upheld it as constitutional. My opponent says he wants to overturn this bill. To take insurance coverage away from college kids. To tell people with pre-existing conditions, "Sorry, no insurance for you." To reduce people's access to healthcare and to increase the cost of that care. I don't accept that. It's time to stop putting politics ahead of people's health.
As he did with immigration, it seems possible for the President to put Romney on the defensive, and to hammer home the growing perception that Romney is a man who won't take a position on anything.

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