Mitt Romney Discusses Health Care During San Diego Stop
Romney Gives Speech At Local Company NuVasive
Last Updated: 470 days ago
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 Monday.
The former Massachusetts governor's 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, 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 increased the cost of health insurance."
"One promise made has certainly been delivered and that's the promise to raise taxes on medical device companies," said Romney as he addressed employees at the event. "You might ask, 'Why is 2.3 percent tax such a bad thing?' Well, it's not tax on the profit that's being applied, it's a tax on the sales. And so for a business like this, this will represent an enormous increase because this is about a $600 million company. Their profit is relatively small. A tax on the profit is one thing. A tax on the sales means an enormous additional payment that has to be made to Washington."
Firms like NuVasive are important because they sell 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."
Romney is routinely criticized by his opponents for enacting similar legislation in Massachusetts. He responds that it was a state solution for a state problem, not a sweeping overhaul of health care at a federal level.
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.
In other Romney campaign news, he was endorsed Monday by former U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She cited his experience in both the public and private sectors.
Romney also had scheduled fundraisers Monday in Redwood City and Tuesday in Stockton, Irvine and Los Angeles, and will appear on NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
The fundraiser in Stockton will be at the home of San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos.
Political expert Dr. Carl Luna said Romney's visit to San Diego represents how important the state of California is becoming to Republican candidates.
"California gold they come here to fundraise; this is a state with a lot of deep pockets," said Luna.
According to California Watch, state Republicans have donated $26.6 million, with Romney and his super PAC (political action committee) amassing the lion's share with $12.1 million.
In San Diego County, Romney has raised $939,258 since the end of February, compared to Rick Santorum's $55,021, according 10News' media partner U-T San Diego.
Luna said, "What he will use that money to do will be to carpet bomb the media markets, which will give him a major advantage come June against candidates who will be pretty tapped out."
So instead of just cash, California is in play for votes, and that could be critical if Romney does not get all the delegates he needs before June.
"So I come to you a little before the California primary," Romney told his supporters Monday. He said he knew it wasn't until June but made sure to point out he needed them to be ready.
Luna said California could be a factor.
"California's his firewall to get enough delegates to put him over the top for the convention," Luna told 10News.
According to the latest figures from the Associated Press, Romney has 568 delegates, followed by Santorum with 273. To win the Republican nomination, a candidate must have 1144 delegates.
But Romney has been facing an uphill battle.
"Mitt Romney is slow to get momentum building," said Luna.
Romney's slower start may be connected to a modified primary season designed to prevent a candidate from getting all the votes they need too early -- the way some say John McCain did in 2008.
"They didn't want to rush to another John McCain, so they're going to take a slow walk to another John McCain," said Luna.