Former Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt is a leading contender to become White House chief of staff in a Mitt Romney administration, but it seems his new boss will have to set Leavitt straight on official policy on President Obama’s health care law – it has to go. Leavitt, who, as the president’s top aide, would be in charge of dismantling the law, has been a pretty big fan of the legislation in the past, according to an article published today in Salon.
Leavitt, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under President George W. Bush, heads a firm that has positioned itself as a leading consultancy to help implement the Affordable Care Act, and it’s already won contracts to do so, Salon reports. On its web site, Leavitt Partners touts a section of the business that advises clients on how to implement and respond to the health insurance exchanges created by the Obama health care plan.
Leavitt's embrace of a law derided by Romney and Republicans as “Obamacare” has conservatives up in arms, according to a story in The New York Times this afternoon. Ben Domenech, a conservative blogger, wrote on the RedState site that Leavitt’s support for parts of the health care law was “a matter of significant concern for those on the right.”
His comments were echoed by the tea party group FreedomWorks and by the Cato Institute, a libertarian research group, which posted an item on its blog with the headline: “Romney Etch-A-Sketches His Opposition to ObamaCare with Leavitt Pick,” according to the Times.
The story also referred to a speech Leavitt gave to the National Governors Association in 2011 in which he said that the health care exchanges at the heart of Obama plan are a good idea and should be implemented.