Health Care Emerging as 2012 Issue — Already

By Jonathan Blakely

Mar 22, 2010 11:33am

ABC News’ David Chalian and Rick Klein report: In case you think last night’s health care vote will only be with us as a political issue in 2010, the early favorite among Republican politicos for their party’s 2012 nomination, former governor Mitt Romney, seems poised to take the issue into the next presidential contest too.

In a statement posted on the National Review Website, Romney, R-Mass., slams President Obama for failing to deliver on his promise for a new kind of politics, and for the substantive tax hikes and Medicare cuts in the bill.

“Rather than bringing us together, ushering in a new kind of politics, and rising above raw partisanship, he has succumbed to the lowest denominator of incumbent power: justifying the means by extolling the ends. He promised better; we deserved better,” says Romney.

Of the bill, Romney says:

“It raises taxes, slashes the more private side of Medicare, installs price controls, and puts a new federal bureaucracy in charge of health care. It will create a new entitlement even as the ones we already have are bankrupt. For these reasons and more, the act should be repealed. That campaign begins today."

The early marker for Romney carries particular meaning given his association with the issue. As governor of Massachusetts, Romney ushered into law the first essentially universal health care bill, and its similarities to the national plan pushed by Democrats has drawn him some early swipes from potential GOP 2012 rivals.

Last week Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Romney 2008 rival John McCain, gave Romney some support for his claims that the Massachusetts plan is not comparable to what was passed in Washington this weekend. 

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