Former Governor Mitt Romney is marking the first anniversary of President Obama's universal health care law by vowing to dismantle it state-by-state.
"If I were president, on Day One I would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers to all 50 states," the would-be Republican presidential candidate said Tuesday night in a blog post for the "National Review."
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who announced Monday he was forming a presidential exploratory committee, released his own statement this morning saying he would support the law's repeal. While governor last year, he joined a lawsuit seeking to do just that.
"The law infringes on individuals' and states' rights by forcing individuals to purchase a good or service," he said. "If courts do not do so first, as president, I would support the immediate repeal of 'Obamacare' and replace it with market-based health care reforms."
Romney's statement used his most aggressive language yet regarding a potential presidential campaign. He insists publicly he has yet to decide whether to seek the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, yet nearly all of his actions for the past two years have been geared that way.
A formal kickoff is expected later this spring.
Romney presided over Massachusetts when, in 2006, it enacted the nation's first universal health care law. Now over 98 percent of state residents have private, government, or government-subsidized private coverage.
Last year, Obama signed a federal law modeled on the same principles, including a mandate that all residents obtain whatever coverage they can afford, as well as penalties for not doing so.
Romney said in his blog post that his executive order would direct the secretary of Health and Human Services and all relevant federal officials "to return the maximum possible authority to the states to innovate and design health-care solutions that work best for them."
The former governor argues states should be free to enact what Democrats have countered is "Romneycare."
He said in his statement: "As I have stated time and again, a one-size-fits-all national plan that raises taxes is simply not the answer. Under our federalist system, the states are 'laboratories of democracy.'"
Romney said his ultimate goal is to repeal the Obama program "and replace it with free-market reforms that promote competition and lower health-care costs."
Acknowledging such a repeal would take time, "an executive order is the first step in returning power to the states," he said.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.