Romney says he would keep parts of Obama healthcare law

WASHINGTON Sun Sep 9, 2012 2:21pm EDT

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney talks to reporters at the airport in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa September 7, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney talks to reporters at the airport in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa September 7, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has called for scrapping President Barack Obama's 2010 U.S. healthcare law, said in remarks aired on Sunday that he likes key parts of "Obamacare" despite his party's loathing of it and wants to retain them.

Romney, who faces Obama in the November 6 election, has vowed throughout the campaign to repeal and replace the Obama healthcare law. But asked about the Obama healthcare law on NBC's "Meet the Press" program, Romney said, "Well, I'm not getting rid of all of healthcare reform."

"Of course, there are a number of things that I like in healthcare reform that I'm going to put in place," Romney added. "One is to make sure that those with pre-existing conditions can get coverage. Two is to assure that the marketplace allows for individuals to have policies that cover their family up to whatever age they might like."

The Obama healthcare law, among other provisions, prevents insurance companies from denying medical coverage to people who already are suffering from a medical condition. It also allows parents to keep their young-adult children on their health insurance plans until age 26.

The law is Obama's signature domestic policy achievement.

Elements of the state healthcare reform plan that Romney put in place as governor of Massachusetts served as a model for the federal law passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by Obama in 2010 despite unified Republican opposition.

"I say we're going to replace Obamacare. And I'm replacing it with my own plan. And even in Massachusetts when I was governor, our plan there deals with pre-existing conditions and with young people," Romney told "Meet the Press."

On the day the Supreme Court upheld the Obama law in June, Romney said the American people must vote the president out of office in order to "get rid of Obamacare." The law is the most sweeping overhaul since the 1960s of the unwieldy U.S. healthcare system.

The Obama law was meant to bring coverage to more than 30 million of the roughly 50 million uninsured and slow soaring medical costs. Republicans say it meddles in the lives of individuals and in the business of the states.

On the divisive social issue of abortion, Romney said it "would be my preference" that the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing it be overturned by any justices who he would appoint to the U.S. Supreme Court if vacancies come up.

"Well, there are a number of things I think that need to be said about preserving and protecting the life of the unborn child. And I recognize there are two lives involved: the mom and the unborn child," Romney said.

"And I believe that people of good conscience have chosen different paths in this regard. But I am pro-life and will intend, if I'm president of the United States, to encourage pro-life policies," he added.

(Reporting by Will Dunham; Editing by Sandra Maler)