US & Canada

Romney touts health plan that 'differs from Obama's'

Mitt Romney
Image caption Mitt Romney said his plan would help states to craft their own solutions

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has called the healthcare overhaul passed last year by the Obama administration a federal government takeover of the health industry.

But the prospective 2012 Republican presidential candidate admitted a state health programme he passed in 2006 shares similarities to the federal law.

Both require Americans to obtain their own health insurance.

Mr Romney said his new plan would help states to craft their own solutions.

"His was a power grab from the federal government," Mr Romney said of President Barack Obama's healthcare reform bill.

The measure, passed in 2010, would provide coverage to more than 30 million uninsured people. Critics, who have labelled it "Obamacare", say it is costly and will kill jobs.

"Obamacare represents a government takeover of healthcare, and I don't like it," Mr Romney added, calling for a repeal of the president's plan.

Speaking at the University of Michigan, Mr Romney said that if he were to take office, he would issue an executive order paving the way for Obamacare waivers for all 50 states.

State-empowered care

The former governor said Mr Obama's healthcare reform was an attempt to put through a one-size-fits-all plan across healthcare issues that vary state by state.

The former governor argued his plan would lower costs and empower states to craft their own healthcare solutions by limiting federal standards.

Other points of his plan include limiting Medicaid and other payments to states, limiting the federal government's say over healthcare standards and creating flexibility to deal with the uninsured through subsidies for private coverage.

In February, Republicans in Congress attempted to repeal Mr Obama's landmark healthcare reform bill, passed in 2010.

The president's landmark legislation, passed last March, would expand a Medicaid programme for the poor and provide tax credits to make premiums more affordable for the middle class.

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