Bloomberg News

Plouffe Says Americans Don’t Want ‘Refight’ on Health Care

March 25, 2012

Protesters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2012 in Washington. Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Protesters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2012 in Washington. Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senior White House adviser David Plouffe defended the health care law enacted by President Barack Obama as the Supreme Court prepares for three days of hearings to determine the fate of the measure.

“Where the American people are right now is they don’t want to go refight this battle again,” Plouffe said today on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “You ask people, should we go back to square one? People don’t want to do that.”

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments this week in a challenge that pits the Obama administration against 26 states that say Congress overstepped its authority by requiring Americans to obtain health insurance or pay a penalty. Obama’s health-care overhaul is shaping up as a prime issue in the presidential election, as is a Republican plan to cut taxes and federal spending.

The law signed by Obama in 2010 has been criticized by Republican presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, who have said they would repeal it if they win the November presidential election.

“The important thing right now, what we can control is, implement this law well, make sure that we continue to try to educate people about what’s in the law,” Plouffe said in the interview. “The Supreme Court process will play out.”

Godfather of Mandates

Plouffe, speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” called Romney the “godfather” of health-care insurance mandates, referring to the former governor’s role in enacting a law in Massachusetts that resembles the federal plan pushed by Obama.

In an interview today with CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Santorum echoed Plouffe on that count, calling Romney the “worst candidate” to campaign against Obama on the issue of health-care insurance.

“Heck, he created the blueprint for the government takeover of health care that President Obama followed,” Santorum, who won yesterday’s Republican presidential primary in Louisiana, said.

Romney, who leads in the number of delegates needed to win the Republican nomination, has said that, while he supported the individual mandate for the state of Massachusetts, the federal government shouldn’t impose the requirement in all states.

‘Rubber Stamp’

Plouffe, in an interview today with ABC’s “This Week,” said Romney would “rubber stamp” a budget proposal by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan that “showers huge additional tax cuts on the wealthy.”

On “Fox News Sunday,” Ryan, the architect of the House budget plan to cut federal spending over 10 years by $5.3 trillion below Obama’s budget, said that Republicans might consider eliminating popular tax breaks on only the highest earners.

Those include the home mortgage deduction, which congressional budget analysts estimate costs the Treasury $100 billion a year, or the exclusion of employer-provided health insurance from taxable income, which costs $164 billion a year. Ultimately, those details would have to be decided by the House Ways and Means Committee.

“Instead of giving those write-offs to people in the top tax brackets, take those tax shelters away,” Ryan said in the interview on Fox. “You get more revenue and we can lower everybody’s tax rate in return.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Joshua Gallu in Washington at jgallu@bloomberg.net; Michael Riley in Washington at mriley17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Maura Reynolds at mreynolds34@bloomberg.net


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