WASHINGTON -- Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who recently formed a presidential exploratory committee -- will return to Michigan on Thursday to address an issue many consider his biggest weakness in next year's race: health care.
Romney, a Republican whose late father George was a Michigan governor, helped write the health care law that extended coverage in Massachusetts. Critics have compared it to the plan enacted by President Barack Obama -- Romney's presumptive opponent if he became the Republican nominee -- and a Democratic-controlled Congress.
Romney is going to deliver a speech Thursday afternoon at the University of Michigan Cardovascular Center in Ann Arbor, where he will "present his place to repeal and replace Obamacare with reforms that lower costs and empower states to craft their own health care solutions," his exploratory committee said in a statement Tuesday.
Many pundits have said Romney will need an affirmative defense for his own health care plan in Massachusetts if he's to become the Republican nominee, a goal which he failed to reach in 2008. But he is considered a front-runner in the race, with many would-be candidates either already taking themselves out of the running or remaining on the sidelines for now.
Romney's exploratory committee (created as a first step toward announcing one's candidacy) put out a statement saying Romney's health care reform principles include restoring to the states the responsibilities for caring for their poor and uninsured; providing a tax deduction to those who buy their insurance; streamlining federal regulators; reducing the influence of lawsuits on health care costs and practices; and making health care "more like a consumer market and less like a government program."