'Obamacare': Republicans vow to fight on

2012-06-29 08:11
AFP

AFP

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Washington - White House hopeful Mitt Romney led a reinvigorated Republican charge on Thursday against healthcare reforms, with a snap vote called to repeal the law after it was upheld by the US Supreme Court.

"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 vowed.

The high court upheld President Barack Obama's healthcare reforms to insure another 32 million Americans in a major victory as the Democratic leader seeks re-election in November in what is shaping up to be a tight race.

But despite the court's ruling, Romney said its nine justices "did not... say that Obamacare is good law or that it is good policy.

"Obamacare was bad law yesterday. It is bad law today," he said, arguing the Affordable Care Act would raise taxes, cause the national deficit to balloon and make up to 20 million Americans lose their existing insurance.

Republican leaders on Thursday set an 11 July vote in the House of Representatives to repeal the law, but it will likely be dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.

'Resolve'


Asked why they will press ahead with congressional action to try to repeal the law, after a similar move failed last year, Speaker of the House John Boehner boiled it down to a single word.

"Resolve. There's a lot of resolve amongst our colleagues, and among the American people, to stop a law that's hurting our economy, driving up the cost of healthcare, and making it more difficult for employers to hire new workers," he told reporters.

He also took to Twitter in a bid to rally opponents to the health law.

"We don't have to accept 'Obamacare'," Boehner tweeted. "The House will continue to fight for #fullrepeal."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed, saying: "Republicans won't let up whatsoever in our determination to repeal this terrible law and replace it with the kind of reforms that will truly address the problems it was meant to solve."

"The court's ruling doesn't mark the end of the debate," he said on the Senate floor.

Huge boost for Obama


"It marks a fresh start on the road to repeal. That's been our goal from the start. That's our goal now, and we plan to achieve it."

The court ruling is a huge boost for Obama and he hailed it as "a victory for people all over this country".

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he was pleased the Supreme Court had put "the rule of law ahead of partisanship and ruled the Affordable Care Act is constitutional".

The law will allow millions of Americans to keep "seeing the benefits of the law that we passed", he said. "No longer will American families be a car accident or a heart attack away from bankruptcy."

He took a dig at Republican efforts to dismantle the law, saying: "Unfortunately Republicans in Congress continue to target the rights and benefits guaranteed under this law."

"Our Supreme Court has spoken. The matter is settled."

Important election


But Republicans, including Romney, sounded adamant that the court ruling only served to make the healthcare law a top 2012 campaign issue.

"If we want to get rid of Obamacare, we're going to have to replace President Obama," Romney said. "My mission is to make sure we do exactly that."

Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Thursday's ruling "underscores the importance of this election.

"The people of America are going to have a choice to make in November, and clearly it's a choice that will bear upon the direction of this country, as far as their healthcare is concerned."

Even some Democrats sounded as if the ruling was not the be-all, end-all for health care reform.

Reid suggested there could be bipartisan efforts to improve the law - albeit after November.

Erroneous news reports


"When we come back here after the elections, there may be some things that we can do to improve the law and we'll do that working together," he said.

Some Republicans, not to mention the president himself, were thrown when two television stations, CNN and Fox News, at first erroneously reported that the court had struck down the law's centrepiece pay provision.

"Individual mandate ruled unconstitutional. Let Freedom Ring," said Republican lawmaker Dennis Ross on Twitter.

Ross later changed his tack, saying he was "truly disappointed" after it became clear that the channels had been too hasty in deciphering the court's complex ruling.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  mitt romney  |  us  |  us healthcare  |  us elections 2012
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