Romney blasts ‘Obamacare’ in San Diego speech claiming nation can’t afford it

City News Service

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted the national health care law championed by President Barack Obama and its impact on the medical device community in a San Diego campaign appearance today.

The speech at NuVasive, a maker of devices intended to improve spinal care, coincided with the start of oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of what is officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and what has been dubbed by opponents as “Obamacare.”

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who has a home in La Jolla, has said that if elected president, he would issue an executive order on his first day in office that paves the way for the federal government to issue waivers on the law’s provisions to all 50 states, then will work with Congress to repeal the full legislation as quickly as possible.

“An extra trillion dollars in spending, we were told it would be an extra trillion, now we’re told by the (Congressional Budget Office) it’s more like $2 trillion,” Romney told the audience. “And then they said it would cut the cost of health insurance -- in fact, it has increase the cost of health insurance.”

Firms like Nuvasive are important because they selll products around the world and keep the U.S. competitive economically, but their progress is threatened by the culture in the nation’s capital, Romney said.

“What’s happening today in Washington is an attack on free enterprise, an attack on economic freedom unlike anything we’ve ever seen before,” Romney said, “partially as a result of the perspective of the president, partially as a result of the perspective of the many bureaucrats, the thousands upon thousands of bureaucrats that work in Washington.”

After his morning appearance, he went to a fundraiser at the U.S. Grant Hotel, where he was greeted by about 20 protesters representing diverse causes and organizations, including Women Occupy San Diego and “Teachers for Obama.” Supporters of a federal bill to give undocumented Latino students a pathway to citizenship were on hand, along with a couple of people who held “Obama 2012" campaign placards.

One man held a sign that read: “Which Mitt?” in reference to opponents’ claims that he has flip-flopped on a number of issues, including health care.

“Whatever the justices decide in what is certain to be a landmark decision, the case against ‘Obamacare’ extends far beyond questions about its constitutionality,” Romney wrote in USA Today on Friday. “President Obama’s program is an unfolding disaster for the American economy, a budget-busting entitlement and a dramatic new federal intrusion into our lives.”

Romney has said he supports allowing states to regulate local insurance markets and care for the poor, uninsured and chronically ill; promoting free markets and fair competition and empowering consumer choice, including ending tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance; allowing consumers to purchase insurance across state lines; and promoting alternatives to fee for service.

Obama marked Friday’s second anniversary of signing the bill into law by saying that “two years after we passed health care reform, more young adults have insurance, more seniors are saving money on their prescription drugs and more Americans can rest easy knowing that they won’t be dropped from their insurance plan if they get sick.”

“The law has made a difference for millions of Americans and over time, it will help give even more working and middle-class families the security they deserve,” the president said.

Romney was also scheduled to attend fundraisers today in Redwood City and tomorrow in Stockton, Irvine and Los Angeles, and appear on NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”