Likely Republican presidential hopefuls bashed Obamacare on the day of its one-year anniversary — joining pro-life advocates who hope the courts overturn the pro-abortion law or Congress repeals it. House Republican leaders joined them.
Fresh from his announcement of a presidential exploratory committee, pro-life former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty took a firm position against Obamacare, similar to the one he took as governor where he refused to implement parts of the controversial health care plan.
“One year ago today, President Obama signed into law the federal government takeover of health care, one of the most flawed and misguided laws in modern history,” Pawlenty said. “Obamacare takes our health care system in the wrong direction, failing to reduce costs and improve quality. The law infringes on individuals’ and states’ rights by forcing individuals to purchase a good or service, which is why I joined a lawsuit calling the law unconstitutional.”
If the Supreme Court does not eventually rule Obamacare unconstitutional, Pawlenty said he would take steps to repeal it.
“If courts do not do so first, as President, I would support the immediate repeal of Obamacare and replace it with market-based health care reforms,” he said.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is widely expected to run for the GOP nomination to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama, also came out swinging against Obamacare, which recent polls show is still significantly unpopular with American voters. He said he would issue executive orders on his first day as president allowing all 50 states to have waivers to opt out of implementing the health care law.
“If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states,” Romney wrote in a blog post for National Review Online. “The executive order would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them.”
Romney has faced criticism from conservative and pro-life corners for having put in place a government-run health care system in Massachusetts and he has been facing calls to repudiate that in the face of strong conservative and independent opposition to Obamacare.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, also got in on the Obamacare bashing, calling the law a “Frankenstein Monster, which never should have left the laboratory … Let’s not let Obamacare turn two.”
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, added, “This deeply flawed legislation has done nothing it was promised to do. Costs aren’t lower, quality isn’t better, and access isn’t greater. All this law has done is put more power in the hands of the Obama Administration, and taken power away from the average American.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is also considered a likely presidential contender, weighed in as well, and urged House Republicans to attach the bill the House passed and the Senate rejected to legislation Democrats support to increase in the debt ceiling.
“House Republicans have the votes to put it in the debt ceiling. They should do it very early. And then they should go to the country and focus attention on the Democrats in the Senate,” Gingrich said Tuesday night on a talk radio program.
Meanwhile, pro-life House Speaker John Boehner said Republicans in Congress would continue trying to do everything possible to ensure Obamacare is “never fully implemented,” according to a video Boehner released Wednesday. “In short, we will do whatever we can to ensure ObamaCare is never fully implemented,” he said.
“For all that, a more fundamental promise was broken when this government takeover of health care was pushed through,” Boehner said. “That day, that week, the people said one thing, and their government did another. Yet the people, unfazed by Washington’s payoffs and backroom deals, kept speaking out as the law proved unpopular, unaffordable, and unconstitutional.”
“In the coming weeks, you’ll see more votes and more hearings in the House to take this law apart, step by step,” Boehner promises. “That includes repealing the law’s mandatory spending slush funds. In short, we will do whatever we can to ensure ObamaCare is never fully implemented.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, also pro-life, song the same tune in a joint opinion column he and Boehner released Wednesday. He also released his own web video calling for repeal of the law.
“The fog of controversy has now cleared, but contrary to the confident predictions of some, the contents of this law are even worse than anyone expected,” the pair write. “And that’s saying something.”
When Congress passed the government-run health care bill, it did so without any limits on abortion funding and language mandating taxpayer financing of abortion in certain circumstances.
Obama eventually issued a controversial executive order supposedly taking the abortion funding issue off the table.
However, virtually every pro-life group said it would not mitigate the abortion funding because it doesn’t have the effect of law, could be reversed in the future, and because it didn’t tackle much of the abortion funding in the bill. The Obama administration could also ignore the order and not put it in place when the health care law goes into effect.
Arizona, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, and Louisiana have passed similar bills that have already been signed into law by governors in those states and several other states are expected to consider legislation in their upcoming legislative sessions. Governors in Oklahoma and Florida vetoed similar legislation.