METAIRIE, La. — Mitt Romney gave a forceful denunciation of President Obama’s signature health care law in Louisiana on Friday, the two-year anniversary of its signing.
“The White House is not celebrating Obamacare today,” Romney said, standing before signs reading “repeal and replace Obamacare” at a campaign stop in a Metairie, La. mall. “This presidency has been a failure and the centerpiece of that failure is this piece of legislation back here, Obamacare.”
Romney’s event comes ahead of three days of arguments next week at the Supreme Court, which is considering whether to overturn the law on constitutional grounds. Romney said he would issue waivers for all 50 states as soon as he takes office.
Romney made only a veiled mention of the law he passed in Massachusetts that served as a model for the national bill, framing the issue of health care as one of state’s rights.
“I’m going to return to the states the authority and the responsibility that states have always had to care for their poor and their uninsured,” Romney said. “The solution for Massachusetts is quite different than let’s say the solution for Texas.”
Supporters in the crowd seemed to buy that argument.
“I’m not a fan,” Gary Birdsall Jr., 25, said of Romney’s Massachusetts law. “But they’re a state and they can do what they want.”
The national legislation, called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was signed into law two years ago Friday, creating a mandate that all Americans buy health insurance, among other changes.
“Governor Romney was an early supporter of the individual mandate,” Obama campaign press sectary Ben LaBolt said in a statement. “He called his health care reform plan a national model.”
Romney made little mention of his competitors for Louisiana’s 46 delegates in Saturday’s primary beyond asserting that he was the only candidate to lay out a health care policy that would replace Obama’s law.
“He said all the right things coming to Louisiana,” said Debra D’Antoni, 55, a dry cleaning clerk who gave up health insurance four years ago because she couldn’t afford the $400 a month premium. “We’re just hoping we can believe everything we hear – or just 90 percent of what we hear.”
Romney, who has lost every Southern state to vote so far, faces an uphill climb in the Saturday primary, something he seemed to acknowledge in his remarks.
“You got a lot of delegates here,” Romney said. “I want, well, I’d like all of them. I’m probably not going to get all of them but I’d like to get as many as I can.”