WASHINGTON – Mitt Romney stepped up his attack on President Barack Obama’s health reform program Sunday, accusing the president of “fundamental dishonesty” that has “undermined the foundation of his second term.”
The harsh comments from Obama’s 2012 rival follow repeated attempts by the Obama administration to liken the current measure, derisively known as “Obamacare,” to the health reform law that Romney championed as Massachusetts governor.
“The president failed to learn the lesson that came from the experience of Massachusetts,” Romney said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” His state’s efforts showed the merits of avoiding a “one-size-fits-all plan,” Romney said. “States should be able to craft their own plans.”
Romney also joined a chorus of criticism Obama has received as hundreds of thousands of Americans have been notified that their health insurance policies are being canceled. The cancellations appear to contradict the president’s pledge that, despite the changes brought by his reforms, Americans would be able to keep their health insurance if they like it.
“He told people they could keep their insurance, and that was not the truth,” Romney said.
Backers of the president’s plan insist that those being forced to change their insurance had low-quality plans and that most would be able to get better coverage for the same amount or less.
Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat and Romney’s successor, insisted that there were lessons to be gleaned from his state’s experience.
“It took us two years to get our website right in Massachusetts,” Patrick said on NBC. But now the state has near-universal insurance coverage and broad popular support for the program, he said.
The federal HealthCare.gov website was down overnight Saturday and into Sunday, the latest in a continuing string of problems.
Dan Pfeiffer, a top White House adviser, said the system can be fixed by the end of November. ” There’s no question we have to get this done by the end of this month,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Pfeiffer acknowledged that enrollment numbers to be released later this month “are not going to be what we want them to be.”
“The website hasn’t worked the way we want it to work. But we take responsibility for that, take responsibility for the errors, take responsibility for fixing it,” he said. “And if we get the website working as expected we do by the end of this month, then I think we’re going to be in a good place.”
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