Romney calls Obama out of touch on hiring impact of health care law

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a campaign stop at Con-Air Industries, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in Orlando, Fla. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

Mitt Romney
AP Photo/Evan Vucci

(CBS News) ORLANDO -- Mitt Romney used President Obama's new health care law Tuesday to hammer him as out of touch with the economy, arguing that Obama is naively unaware of the impact of the Affordable Care Act on small businesses.

"Now just yesterday the president said something else that shows just how much out of touch he is. He said he didn't understand that Obamacare was hurting small business, he doesn't understand that Obamacare impacts small business, and you have to scratch your head about that," Romney told an audience of about 300 at Con Air Industries, an HVAC product manufacturer and distributor.

"The president needs to get in touch with what's happening in the private sector, what's happening with middle income families and the damage that's being done by the specter of Obamacare and the taxes that it already charges to businesses in the health care sector."

Romney was responding to an interview Obama gave to KTIV-TV in Sioux City yesterday, where he said that only insurance companies should have been affected by the healthcare law, and that a small business that said it closed as a result of the health care reform "probably wouldn't have been impacted by that."

Most provisions of the law are slated to take effect in 2014, assuming it is not thrown out this month by the Supreme Court. Republicans have seized on Obama's comment to further attack it.

To back up his claims, Romney cited a March 2012 Chamber of Commerce survey of 1,339 small businesses, 73 percent of which said the healthcare law specifically made it more difficult for them to hire people.

Romney also reiterated healthcare policy proposals he has said he would put in place after repeal of the Affordable Care Act, including block-granting Medicare funds to states, offering tax incentives to individuals who buy insurance, and offering private options for Medicare recipients.

The Obama campaign said repeal of the law, as Romney wants, would "discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions, charge women higher premiums than they charge men for the same coverage, and kick young adults off their parents' plans when they graduate high school or college." Spokeswoman Lis Smith also said Romney's proposals for Medicare would increase costs on seniors and bankrupt the system.

Matthew Shelley contributed to this report

  • Rebecca Kaplan On Twitter»

    Rebecca Kaplan covers the 2012 presidential campaign for CBS News and National Journal.

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