The U.S. Supreme Court's ruling this morning, narrowly upholding the Affordable Healthcare Act (aka Obamacare) leaves us with a question: Is Gov. Corbett a winner or a loser here? Why not both?
Corbett in March 2010 joined a group of state Attorneys General (mostly Republican) around the country in challenging the law in federal court. He was running for governor then and issued a campaign fund-raising letter at the time, calling President Obama's effort a "health-care monstrosity" and noting that he was "leading the fight against Obamacare."
In September 2010, Corbett issued a campaign policy paper on health care in which he pledged to implement the legislation wisely, adding that it "offers great opportunity to extend coverage to thousands more people throughout Pennsylvania."
Corbett's spokesman in September 2010 explained that the would-be governor opposed as unconstitutional the legislation's individual mandate on purchasing health care insurance. He added that Corbett as governor would work to control the cost of health care if the legislation was upheld by the courts.
After the jump, you can read our Sept. 23, 2010 story on Corbett's health care law positions.
Onorato: Corbett waffling on health care
Sept. 23, 2010
By CHRIS BRENNAN
Is the federal Affordable Care Act signed into law six months ago today by President Obama a "health-care monstrosity" or a "great opportunity to extend coverage to thousands" of people in Pennsylvania?
To state Attorney General Tom Corbett, the Republican nominee for governor, the answer to that question seems to be: Yes.
Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato, the Democratic nominee, accused Corbett yesterday of trying to have it both ways on the controversial issue.
Corbett, in a campaign policy paper released this week, said the legislation could be a great opportunity to help people get health-care coverage if it is executed correctly and survives a legal challenge filed by several state attorneys general. Corbett's policy paper does not mention that he helped file the challenge.
Corbett was not so shy in a March fundraising letter mailed to supporters in which he bragged that he was "leading the fight against 'Obamacare.’ "
"You see, I'm 100 percent opposed to President Barack Obama's plans to impose government-run socialized medicine on Pennsylvania and her citizens," Corbett wrote in a letter that asked for campaign donations of $2,000, $1,000, $500 or $250.
On the campaign trail, Corbett says he is not opposed to health-care reform but thinks that it should be handled at the state level and that the federal government should not require the uninsured to buy health care.
Onorato's campaign pounced yesterday on Corbett's policy paper, mockingly noting that "he was against the health-care law before he was for it.”
Onorato spokesman Brian Herman claimed Corbett has "consistently politicized his office," suing to stop a law while touting and planning to implement it.
Corbett's campaign hit right back, saying Onorato was showing "desperation" in a week when polls and campaign-finance reports show him in second place.
"Tom has been consistent that health-care reform is necessary, but the recent federal bill did in it in a way that's unconstitutional and increases costs," Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said. "Corbett's health-care policy calls for controlling the cost of the federal law if the courts don't agree with the legal challenge.”
Corbett and Onorato trading shots on the controversial issue provided another example of how the race for governor has become deeply nationalized.
Obama gathered yesterday with people who support the health-care law at a home in Virginia, repeatedly saying it was designed to "give people some basic peace of mind.”
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele responded by noting that few Democrats are campaigning on their votes for the health-care law.
"The six-month anniversary of 'Obamacare' will be a lonely one for President Obama and congressional Democrats," Steele said. "The president's plan was unpopular when it was passed in March and today the wholesale takeover of the American health-care system is undeniably radioactive."