Mitt Romney Can Use Healthcare Against Barack Obama
The presidential election will be a referendum on Obamacare
June 28, 2012
One thing you can bet on: News the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare went over a lot better in the White House than it did in Chicago.
President Barack Obama's White House staffers can take pride—his signature legislative achievement passed constitutional muster and they can begin to implement its most controversial provisions. But the Chicago-based Obama campaign knows any bump from this decision will be short-lived and the full impact could well work against the president's re-election hopes.
Polls show about one fourth of Americans still haven't decided whether to support President Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney in November. But more than one in six of those undecided voters identify themselves as Tea Party. It's safe to say almost all of them just became enthusiastic Romney supporters.
Moreover, before the ruling, the election was shaping up as a referendum on President Obama's handling of the economy. But although he may be able to blame the economy on Europe, a worldwide slowdown, and his predecessor, George W. Bush, the election now becomes a referendum on Obamacare as well. And there's no way to shift blame on the healthcare law.
The law never has been that popular. About 55 percent opposed the law just before it was passed, and between 52 and 55 percent still oppose it today. And now, Romney has four months to campaign against it.
He can hammer the "Three Big Lies" of Obamacare:
- The president promised premiums would decrease by $2,500 per year; a Kaiser study says they will increase by $1,300.
- The president said, "If you like your healthcare plan, you'll be able to keep your healthcare plan, period." The Congressional Budget Office and The Joint Committee on Taxation say as many as 20 million Americans will lose coverage under Obamacare.
- The president said it will reduce federal spending. CBO's cost estimates are roughly twice as much as the administration's initial estimates.
Romney also can—and must—push his own package of market-friendly proposals—allowing health insurance to be sold across state lines, defined-contribution instead of defined-benefit to improve portability, etc. Three fourths of Americans are satisfied with their own coverage, but only 39 percent think the system works overall. They'll want to know he can make things better.
But beyond the talking points, Romney must remind Americans that, in the middle of the worst recession in modern times, President Obama sold them a dog with fleas. He devoted nearly two years of his term—with Democrats controlling both chambers of Congress—to legislation that will make healthcare worse when he could have addressed jobs, immigration, or the economy.
After all, that's the true reason America can't afford four more years of President Obama.