Romney's Latest Health Care Quandary

Following Thursday's Supreme Court ruling to uphold President Obama's health care reform law, it did not take long for Republicans to shift en masse from public displays of anger and disappointment to reaffirmation of their commitment to repeal the law.

The crux of Mitt Romney’s argument against the Affordable Care Act, after all, had never been that it is unconstitutional, but rather that it is bad policy.

In his first remarks following the court’s decision, Romney was quick to emphasize that distinction:

“What the court did do today is say that Obamacare does not violate the Constitution; what they did not do is to say that Obamacare is a good law or that it is good policy. What the court did not do on the last day in session, I will do on my first day if elected president of the United States, and that is that I will act to repeal Obamacare.”

Romney’s show of commitment to the issue literally paid immediate dividends. On Friday, his communications director, Gail Gitcho, tweeted that since the ruling the presumptive nominee’s campaign had raised $5.5 million from 55,000 donors, 65 percent of whom were first-time contributors.

But as Romney retreated to his lakeside New Hampshire home for a weeklong family vacation, the extent to which he will emphasize health care in the months ahead remained uncertain.

Despite the campaign’s wariness about delving into issues that could take the political conversation into unpredictable territory, many supporters say Romney should not allow the health care issue to fall into the background.

“The key for Romney is to turn around to independents and moderates and say, ‘Look, while there’s some popular provisions in here -- 26-year-olds, pre-existing conditions -- it’s a dog with fleas and an enormous middle-class tax hike,’ ” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell. “But he will also have to at some point come up with a definitive plan of how he’ll replace it. Americans know that we need health care reform, but what Romney has to say to them is ‘This is not the best way to go about it.’ ”

Read more from Scott Controy at RealClearPolitics

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published this page in In The News 2012-07-02 09:30:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy