Mitt Romney's campaign announced Tuesday that the former Massachusetts governor will deliver a speech on healthcare reform in Michigan on Thursday, taking head-on an issue that is widely seen as his biggest vulnerability in the Republican nomination battle.
The campaign says Romney will lay out a plan to "repeal and replace Obamacare" -- the federal health reform law that resembles the plan enacted during Romney's single term as the Bay State's governor -- and replace it with "reforms that lower costs and empower states to craft their own healthcare solutions."
Romney has repeatedly defended the Massachusetts reform law as appropriate for his state. At a New Hampshire forum last month he conceded "it's not perfect," but that it was better than Obama's "one-size-fits-all plan."
Both plans include a mandate that citizens purchase health insurance, something derided by the conservative activists who will dominate GOP nominating contests. On Tuesday a U.S. appeals court was set to hear arguments in a legal effort to strike down Obama's plan as unconstitutional.
Romney will speak from the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor, returning to the state where his father served as governor and where he kicked off his 2008 White House campaign four years ago.
Romney's campaign listed his five principles for reform:
--Restore to the states the responsibility and resources to care for their poor, uninsured, and chronically ill.
--Give a tax deduction to those who buy their own health insurance, just like those who buy it through their employers.
--Streamline the federal regulation of healthcare.
--Reduce the influence of lawsuits on medical practice and costs.
--Make healthcare more like a consumer market and less like a government program.
Romney has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission for another presidential campaign, but publicly says he is still in an exploratory phase.