Presumptive US Republican presidential nominee and former Massachussets governor Mitt Romney led a reinvigorated Republican charge on Thursday against healthcare reform, 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 said.
The high court upheld US 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.
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, saying the Affordable Care Act would raise taxes, cause the national deficit to balloon and cause up to 20 million Americans lose their existing insurance.
Republican leaders on Thursday set a July 11 vote in the US House of Representatives to repeal the law, but it will likely be dead on arrival in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
The court ruling is a huge boost for Obama and he hailed it as “a victory for people all over this country.”
US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he was pleased the US 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.”
However, Republicans, including Romney, sounded adamant that the court ruling only served to make the healthcare law a top 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 US 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.”