Romney and Pawlenty both slam health care reform
March 23rd, 2011
09:09 AM ET
7 years ago

Romney and Pawlenty both slam health care reform

Washington (CNN)-Two probable GOP presidential contenders are blasting President Obama on the one-year anniversary of health care reform being signed into law. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are both out with new statements criticizing the president and offering up "if-I-were-president" solutions.

But for Romney, who pioneered statewide health care reform during his gubernatorial term in Massachusetts, the issue of health care has proved politically troublesome.

Pawlenty, who announced the formation of a presidential exploratory committee in a Facebook note Monday, said Wednesday in a statement, "Obamacare takes our health care system in the wrong direction, failing to reduce costs and improve quality."

He slams the law, stating that he joined a lawsuit challenging it on the grounds that it is unconstitutional because it "infringes on individuals' and states' rights."

"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," Pawlenty declared.

Romney, who sought the GOP nomination for president in 2008, wouldn't wait for courts to act. In the National Review's multi-author conservative blog, The Corner, Romney said Tuesday, "If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states."

Stating that the "ultimate goal" is to repeal the health care reform law, Romney continues, "But since an outright repeal would take time, an executive order is the first step in returning power to the states."

Romney has come under fire recently for shared similarities between the Massachusetts plan that he implemented and the year-old national health care law including an individual mandate that requires all residents, with some exceptions, to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. His critics include some fellow conservatives, including his peers in the 2012 presidential hopeful pack. President Obama also praised the plan, in a not-so-obvious political dig.

And Romney himself seemed to stage a pre-emptive rebuttal to likely criticism in the blog post by saying "Under our federalist system, the states are "laboratories of democracy." They should be free to experiment. By the way, what works in one state may not be the answer for another."

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, also mulling a bid for the presidency, weighed in on the first anniversary of health care reform with a policy-focused explanation of where Democrats went wrong. In an e-mail sent to supporters Gingrich accused Democrats of passing the bill in a "sneaky underhanded way." Though he didn't offer his own if-I-were-president solution, he called on House Republicans to "attach the full repeal of Obamacare to the debt ceiling increase bill and pass it immediately" because "making Obamacare a central issue in the budget fight is the best way to force President Obama to confront our debt crisis head-on."

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll released Wednesday indicates that attitudes toward the national health care plan have remained unchanged over the past year. A little over one-third of Americans–37 percent–support the measure and almost six in ten oppose it. That's basically unchanged from last March, when 39 percent supported the law and 59 percent opposed the measure.

But CNN Polling Director Keating Holland says, "In 2010, about a quarter of the health care bill's opponents disliked the bill because it was not liberal enough - the same as today. That works out to 13 percent of all Americans who oppose the bill because it did not go far enough. Forty-three percent oppose it because it was too liberal."

Filed under: Health care • Mitt Romney • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. andrew

    someone should remind Romney that Obamacare looks a lot like the Mass State Healthcare he put in place. He keeps this up and he is going to get ripped apart by his opponents..... AGAIN.

    March 23, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  2. Seattle Sue

    Why don't these Republicans/Tea Party people quit slamming and come up with something constructive? It seems that all they have done is to say No and complain. Where are the jobs they were going to produce they were talking about before the election? Now it seems the only time I hear them talk of jobs is when they are talking of cutting jobs.

    March 23, 2011 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  3. diridi

    what an idiotic......why do they criticize.....for covering all? for insurance companies denying patients with preexisting conditions? For covering college kids who are under 26 under parent's coverage? For the provision setting up health care state run exchanges???? I am questioning both idiots, what did they do all these fifty years? Medicare fraud was rampant....why didn't they talk?// Were these two idiots part of the fraud????? What are they? Do they have any locus standi? what an idiotic....both are biggest thugs in the nation....o.k.....Americans, learn from the other side....x-ray these idiots.....learn from hidden norms, patterns, and not vote blindly.....God bless....

    March 23, 2011 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  4. Rosslaw

    Poor Mitt, trying to remember what he supposedly stands for each day he wakes up. Health care reform, used to support it but had an epiphany that uniinsured people should go the the ER for medical care-or maybe just shoot them. Which is handy since he's also gone 180 degrees on gun control which had a great 2010 with the highest fatality rate for law enforcment officers in memory and 2011 looks to exceed it. And of course his 180 degree on abortion rights to appeal to all those people who want govermment out of our lives and in our bedrooms instead. But great hair-he should kick Trump's a** on that "issue".

    March 23, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. NVa Native

    The have against the have nots.
    Typical Republicans waging class warfare against the working and middle class Americans – who work hard and pay their fair share of taxes.

    March 23, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  6. Clwyd

    Romney better look again as some of the parts of the Health Care Bill are taken from his coverage for the citizens of Mass.!

    March 23, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  7. The Real Tom Paine

    Ah, its Tweedle-Dum and Tweedle-Dee: one left his state billions in debt after he inherited a surplus, and the other never had the balls to stand for re-election and now runs from his signature accomplishment. Wasn't it the GOP who always insisted the states were the laboratory for national policy? Oh, this makes me pine for Tommy Thompson, who raided the WI pension funds to pay for his tax cuts, and who's state is now reaping the whirlwind of GOP " fiscal responsibility" that was sown back in the 90s.

    GOP math: cut taxes, borrow money from China= disaster, but we blame it on labor unions, and will still insist after 3 decades it still works, that the rest of us just don't understand them.

    If this is the best you can come up with, just plan for 2016: at least the odds might be even.

    March 23, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  8. usualone

    Romney is a hypocrite. Also, if states have their own plans, the equitable treatment of patients would not be consistent. It may sound good, but people in State A may have many more benefits than people in State B.

    March 23, 2011 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. ATL Guy

    One year later, where's the Republican's replacement plan? Did they ever have one? Are they ever going to produce one? Or is this just sour grapes because the first black president did something that has eluded other presidents for a long long time?

    March 23, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |

    This is old news......The law is here, and it is what it should and can be improved . Kudos to the President for thinking about people's health in the first place......
    Romney and Pawlenty, are two losers, who will probably end up on th President/VP ticket together......
    Obama 2012!
    Anyway, i'm looking forward to seeing the jobs numbers due out next Friday. If they are still going in the right direction, then Obama's chances of re-election will continue to grow.

    March 23, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  11. RR

    Talking heads...say what I must to get noticed

    March 23, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  12. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    I dont think that Congress want the same health plan they have for the rest of AMERICAN PEOPLE. Why would a lot money like the two probable GOP presidential contenders ormer Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney are both out with new statements criticizing the one-year anniversary of health care reform being signed into law. They have the best health care plan in the world and the people of America is paying for there care.

    March 23, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  13. No tea, coffee only

    Timmy said: "Obamacare takes our health care system in the wrong direction, failing to reduce costs and improve quality."
    That's a lie plain and simple. CBO has already debunked that. Timmy is an expert on health care much like he's an expert on interstate infrastructure in/around Minneapolis and St. Paul.

    Mittens, Mittens, Mittens the embodiment of Republican hypocrisy. "Obamacare" is evil but it looks astonishingly like "Romneycare". Mitt is another two-faced liar that needs to get into beach footwear....Mitt's Flip Flops.

    Ringling Brothers should be the Repugs corporate sponsor for their convention with all those clowns they have.

    March 23, 2011 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Nice try Mittens. I think if Little Timmy and Mittens were serious contenders for president, they would at least read the bill. The same is true of these two flip floppers on Libya. America can only hope that both of these empty suits are soundly rejected.

    March 23, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  15. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    So Mittens the FlipFlop has decided the Health Care plan he signed as Gov of Massachusetts and claimed (back then) that it would be good for the rest of America, too, now thinks health care plans like the one he signed are a bad thing. Oh, Mittens, why don't you just go home (if you can figure out whether it was Michigan, where you were raised, Utah, where you made most of your millions, or Massachusetts, where you pretended to be a Moderate)!
    As for Timmy boy, instead of asking the general poll question about the health care, try to poll the people on each individual provision. As probably 80 to 90% of the population are in favor of all the individual provisions, that means they really don't understand that without the entirety of the package the individual items don't work.

    March 23, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Chumlee

    Look at the faces of these two idiots – both losers as governors, who think they know what is best for our country?

    Wake up Americans - these two wingnuts are what is wrong with our country.

    Check out their records as governors – little pitiful Timmy left office with a $6.2 billion deficit. He does not know how to
    balance a checkbook. Romney is more of a flip flop than old man McCain.

    March 23, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. Saul - Virginia

    Can someone tell Romney to shut up about healthcare please. He has zero credibility to criticize the president on this issue.

    March 23, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. JOhn

    Today's GOP, Building a bridge to 1972.

    March 23, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. K3Citizen

    Didn't Obama suggest that if each state had a better system for healthcare that they would be exempt? Sounds like Mitt and Tim are finally on their way to allowing same sex marriages. The way these two have been at each others side and agreeing on everything is absolutely adorable.

    March 23, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  20. kakaraka

    I'm so tired of these bs. How can tell a health care fails while not yet implemented? Let all the implementation process finish first before judging its efficiency. Hey, you two neocons, do or say whatever you want, I will never ever vote for you. Period.

    March 23, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  21. Henry

    Our ignorant population that is so easily swayed by the right wing smear machine will, over time, see the benefit of this bill. Even the dumbest and most ill-informed among us eventually get it.

    We often talk about American exceptionalism. We are exceptional all right; we are exceptionally ill-informed about what goes on around us. The reason we are no longer at the "top of the heap" is because we suffer from the "Rome" syndrome; we are comfortable in our own importance that we no longer see the need to be responsible as a society.

    Pity on us.

    March 23, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Romney doesn't want to admit that what he did in MA was something that every state and the federal government can try since not enough people want to do a single payer system.

    March 23, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. kelsey's grammar

    As my college child graduated, she did get a full time job but one that didn't have benefits. I'm glad she can be covered for just a little while longer under my plan.

    March 23, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  24. K3Citizen

    Since the average family income fell 1.7% and healthcare rose 6%, why don't these two jokers take action against the insurance companies? The CEO's of these companies have increased incomes while the rest of us suffer. These insurance rates are what is causing the downfall of our infrastructure and the republicans are doing nothing to solve ANY problems. Their answers are, "Tax breaks, tax breaks, and more tax breaks". We, the average guys, don't get the tax breaks, instead, we get to pay more to the companies who get these tax breaks. When will the republicans make things better? They promised the big business their tax breaks so where is ours? When will the GOP take on the big oil companies? When will the GOP return to being Americans?

    March 23, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  25. Laverne

    What else can they do but criticize President Obama, they have no ideas, no visiion, little knowledge and little popularity. Actually I would love to see either of them debate President Obama over the facts, he will put of them to shame.

    March 23, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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