The White House said today that GOP presidential candidate is being influenced by “the Rush Limbaughs of the world” in now going after the mandate penalty/tax in ObamaCare.
“For years — I was going to say decades, but that’s not true — for years, Mitt Romney has been defending not only his bill that he pushed forward in Massachusetts but also this as a penalty that was essential to taking into account the people who weren’t paying for health insurance who could afford it. The president agreed with him. That’s for years up until Monday, when his own campaign spokesperson defended it the same way,” said Jen Psaki, who began today as Obama’s campaign secretary and joined the press gaggle aboard Air Force One with White House press secretary Jay Carney.
“So Mitt Romney is — it’s clear that he is being impacted by the push from the right, the Rush Limbaughs of the world, congressional Republicans, who are pushing him to go back on a decision and a defense that he’s had in place for years,” she added.
Obama was en route to Ohio to begin a two-day bus tour through that and fellow swing state Pennsylvania. Psaki said he would “touch on health care” and the importance of keeping ObamaCare in his remarks today.
“And that’s really the question we should be dealing with now, not this silly debate that is, again, Mitt Romney going back — being influenced by the extreme right of the party and going back on a defense he’s had in place for years,” she said.
Carney chimed in that “as a matter of policy, it is simply a fallacy to say that this is a broad-based tax.”
“That’s not what the opinion stated that was authored by the chief justice. The Affordable Care Act is constitutional under Congress’s taxing authority, but this is clearly a penalty that affects less than 1 percent of the American population,” Carney continued. “And it is a penalty you only pay as a matter of choice, if you’re in that 1 percent and you can afford health insurance but choose not to and therefore choose to pass the responsibility for your health care to every other American, which I would note that Governor Romney, when he was governor, thought was unfair and therefore instituted a penalty — and clear the president does, too, which is why the penalty that’s part of the Affordable Care Act was modeled very much on what Governor Romney implemented in Massachusetts.”