The way Mitt Romney sees it, President Obama lied about the Affordable Care Act and seriously jeopardized his entire second-term agenda as a result.
The failed Republican presidential candidate hammered the commander-in-chief on Sunday’s Meet The Press, saying Obama wasn’t honest with Americans when he declared for years that they could keep their health insurance plans if they wanted to.
“He wasn’t telling the truth. I think that fundamental dishonesty has really put in peril the foundation of his second term,” Romney said, later adding, “I think it’s rotting away.”
Many of the 15 million Americans in the individual health insurance market are receiving cancellation notices from their providers saying their plans have been scrapped.
Romney also rejected the comparison of Obamacare to the similar healthcare legislation he signed into law while governor of Massachusetts. The Massachusetts plan – which was used as a model of sorts by the Obama administration – includes a requirement for residents to buy coverage, a forerunner of the “individual mandate” that the right now vehemently opposes in the new federal legislation.
As he long has, Romney argued that the plan was specific to Massachusetts and not meant to work on a national level. “The right way to deal with health care reform is not one-size fits all,” he said.
The former governor’s criticism comes as Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have apologized for the glitch-plagued HealthCare.Gov, promising all would be fixed by the end of November. In another embarrassing blow, the House Oversight and Government Reform committee acknowledged that just six people signed up for insurance on its first day. By the morning of Oct. 3, there were just 248 enrollments.
Romney’s successor and current Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick stressed to Meet The Press host David Gregory that it’s only been a few weeks since the website was made public, and that the Affordable Care Act is “not a website” in and of itself. “It took two years to get our website right in Massachusetts,” he said.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House health policy advisor and architect of the plan, struck a defiant pose, but also seemed to struggle at times to defend Obamacare on Fox News Sunday. He consistently tried to deflect blame from the Obama Administration onto insurance companies and businesses themselves.
“The law does not say to the insurance industry: you drop coverage. The insurance industry decides how it’s going to make money. When private companies decide they’re going to drop people or put them in the exchange, you blame President Obama. He’s not responsible for that.”
Emanuel also said the Obamacare mandate should not be delayed, which several Republicans and some Democrats have been pushing for.
“I don’t think you can prejudge now,” he told host Chris Wallace. “…If it’s not working by Nov. 30, we have can have a renewed debate. But to call for it now…is a mistake.”