Romney, McDonnell Campaign On Eve of Healthcare Ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down a ruling in the fight over federal healthcare reform Thursday, and the potential decision has Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talking. He campaigned with Governor Bob McDonnell in Sterling Wednesday.
"So we're all waiting to see how the court will decide," Romney told a crowd of supporters, "one thing we already know however, we already know it's a bad policy and it's got to go."
Romney calls it a bad policy because of a mandate that all Americans purchase health insurance. By forcing everyone to participate, it's designed to bring prices down, but now the Supreme Court will rule on whether that's constitutional.
Supporters say the constitution's commerce clause gives the federal government the upper hand, but conservative critics disagree. It's for that reason that Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli first sued the federal government in 2010. Besides that, McDonnell says it's will cost Virginia taxpayers.
"My secretary of health estimates that if fully implemented, 'Obamacare' will cost Virginia $2.2 billion in unfunded mandates, primarily with the vast expansion in Medicaid," McDonnell told NBC29 Wednesday, referring to costs the state could incur by having to expand the Medicaid system, as Virginia prepares for an influx of new users.
Supporters of the reform, like Charlottesville City Councilor Dave Norris, say it's everyday Americans who face the real financial burdens.
"It's an unfunded mandate on the people of this country who've been paying more and more out of pocket for rising healthcare costs," Norris said.
Norris hopes the individual mandate is upheld, but even without it, he says, other parts of the law, like a provision allowing young people to stay on their parent's plan longer, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, have helped millions of Americans.
"That's really what this act was designed to do," Norris said, "to provide access to as many people as possible to decent, quality healthcare."
As president, Romney says he will work to repeal and replace the healthcare law, but so far he's offered few details on an alternative plan.
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story