Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made his first campaign stop in San Diego Monday morning to speak out against "Obamacare," vowing that if elected he will "put a hold on all of the Obamacare regulations."
Romney, who owns a home in La Jolla, spoke at San Diego-based NuVasive, a medical device company, on the negative effects of the national health care law. His visit coincides with the start of the oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on what is officially known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“One of the things I will do upon coming into office, if I am lucky enough to be the next president, is put a hold on all the Obamacare regulations, review them, and those that kill jobs—I will get rid of,” said Romney to a standing room only crowd.
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.
President Barack Obama marked the second anniversary of the bill being signed into law Friday 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.”
Keith Valentine, President and COO of NuVasive, said Gov. Romney understands the challenges that are facing the healthcare industry.
“He understands the cascade of actions that are going on in the capitol that are impacting not only innovation, but also impacting jobs and the jobs that help create that innovation,” Valentine said.
Alex Lukianov, chairman of the board and CEO, said NuVasive's ability to innovate has been curtailed over the past few years due to regulatory burdens and other bureaucracy burdens.
“It has led to fewer jobs, probably 150 fewer jobs last year and potentially another 200 jobs in 2013," Lukianov said. "These are issues that are not acceptable to the growth of our industry. We need to do everything we can to push back on these issues, to push back on Obamacare and repeal it.”
He added that relief to the industry will allow more companies to thrive, “so we can hire more people, so we can pay less tax and put that money into R&D, which is where it belongs.”
Romney said he just doesn’t think the president understands that he created a burden on businesses with taxation and regulation. He said these burdens hurt businesses, employees and the entire economy.
“The entire economy, all of America slows down. The proof is what you are seeing in the current recovery,” Romney said. “The taxation burdens and the regulatory burdens that the president’s people have put in place have slowed down the recovery and made this the most tepid recovery from a recession that we have seen since Hoover. I am absolutely convinced it is time to replace the president with someone who understands what it takes to get good jobs and a rising economy, and I’m gonna do it.
“What we are finding is that the promises made are not being delivered. But one promise that has been delivered, that is the promise to raise taxes on medical device companies. Now you might ask why is 2.3 percent tax such a bad thing, but it is not a tax on the profits, it is a tax on the sales,” he said.
Romney also used his 20-minute speech as a call to action for voters, reminding them of the California primary on June 5.
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.
City News Service contributed to this story.