Window to Washington

An inside-the-beltway look at the legislative and regulatory process.

Democrats take aim at Romney and Massachusetts health reform law

By Rich Daly
12 pm, Mar. 28

A 2012 campaign strategy by Democrats appears to include both lashing Mitt Romney to the federal 2010 healthcare law and dismissing it as a campaign issue.

Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a member of the Senate Democrat leadership, told reporters after a recent round of Supreme Court oral arguments on the law described Romney as a “walking talking amicus brief” in support of it.

“There's no question that the healthcare law Mitt Romney passed as governor of Massachusetts is the same one that President Obama passed at the federal level,” Schumer said Tuesday

Because the two laws are “the same” and if Romney wins the Republican nomination, Schumer said, Romney will have “no credibility” to criticize the law and Obama during the fall's campaign.

“If Mitt Romney is the nominee, in effect, healthcare will be off the table as an issue,” Schumer said.

That line of reasoning closely tracks what Romney's Republican rivals have said. For instance, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, said on the steps of the court on Monday that Romney's support for the 2006 Massachusetts' healthcare law “disqualified” him from opposing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Romney has countered throughout the campaign that just because the Massachusetts law was right for that state it did not mean a federal version was right for the nation. He also doesn't appear to be taking Schumer's advice as he continues to frequently attack the law in campaign speeches—on Monday he critiqued the law standing under a “Repeal and Replace Obamacare” banner.

So far, the only candidate who has stopped speaking publically and extensively about the healthcare law—despite the urging of the law's supporters—is Obama. That role has generally fallen to surrogates in the administration, but they won't be on the November ballot.

Follow Rich Daly on Twitter at @MHRDaly.


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