Hours before President Barack Obama’s event on Wednesday in Boston promoting his health care law, his Republican challenger from last year’s election criticized Obamacare.
White House officials say the President, appearing in the backyard of Mitt Romney, will say in a speech that the Affordable Care Act is based largely on the health care law that the 2012 GOP presidential nominee implemented as governor of Massachusetts last decade.
Romney, in a statement on Wednesday, revived a line he used quite often on the campaign trail contrasting his state’s initiative with Obama’s signature domestic achievement, which is now being skewered in Washington over the rocky rollout of its website.
“In the years since the Massachusetts health care law went into effect, nothing has changed my view that a plan crafted to fit the unique circumstances of a single state should not be grafted onto the entire country,” Romney said.
“Beyond that, had President Obama actually learned the lessons of Massachusetts health care, millions of Americans would not lose the insurance they were promised they could keep, millions more would not see their premiums skyrocket, and the installation of the program would not have been a frustrating embarrassment,” Romney said. “Health reform is best crafted by states with bipartisan support and input from its employers, as we did, without raising taxes, and by carefully phasing it in to avoid the type of disruptions we are seeing nationally.”
Obama is expected to say the Massachusetts measure had many challenges early on like the national health care law, but is now providing quality and affordable health insurance.
White House spokesman Jay Carney signaled the President would draw a comparison between the low enrollment numbers so far for Obamacare and a similar sluggish start to the Romney health care plan.
“As has been the case in Massachusetts and in other similar kinds of programs, when you have this sort of extended shopping period, most people tend to wait until closer to the deadline before they actually enroll,” Carney said.
The President will deliver his speech at Boston’s Faneuil Hall, the Colonial-era meeting house where Romney signed the Massachusetts health plan into law.
David Simas, a senior White House strategy and communications official, told reporters on Tuesday that regarding the president’s Wednesday speech, “No, there’s no outreach to Governor Romney.”
A source close to the former governor told CNN that Romney was not invited to the event.
A former Romney campaign adviser and spokesman had low expectations for the President’s speech.
“Unless he stands up in Faneuil Hall and unveils a revamped, working website and admits he misled the country about how their insurance policies would be affected, it will be just another Obama speech. One full of empty promises, self-serving rhetoric and intellectual dishonesty,” said Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor.
Stuart Stevens, a former top adviser to Romney’s 2012 campaign, compared news coverage of Obamacare to news coverage of the Vietnam War in the 1960’s and 1970’s, which started out non-controversial before becoming extremely critical of U.S. efforts.
“This coverage is so much like the coverage of Vietnam. It was all great for so long until reporters really got on the ground and saw the reality,” Stevens told CNN.
CNN White House Producer Kevin Liptak contributed to this story.