US & Canada

Romney jeered over healthcare in NAACP speech

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been booed in a speech to a US civil rights group.

He was jeered as he vowed to "kill" the Obama healthcare overhaul, and when he said he would be a better president for African Americans.

Despite Mr Romney's frosty reception at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, he also received some polite applause.

Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers planned another vote to repeal the health law.

"I will kill every expensive and unnecessary programme I can find, and that includes Obamacare," Mr Romney told the annual convention in Houston, Texas, pausing with a smile as he waited for the catcalls to fade.

The former Massachusetts governor was clapped as he made his pitch on the economy during Wednesday's speech. The unemployment rate among American blacks is 14.4%, compared with a national average of 8.2%.

But jeers resumed as Mr Romney said: "If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. You take a look."

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is the oldest US civil rights group

He went on: "If equal opportunity in America were an accomplished fact, then a chronically bad economy would be equally bad for everyone. Instead, it's worse for African Americans in almost every way."

He is deemed unlikely to wrest the black vote from President Barack Obama, who was supported by 95% of African-Americans in 2008. But analysts say Mr Romney's speech aims to show swing voters that his campaign is inclusive.

Mr Obama does not plan to address NAACP this year. Vice-President Joe Biden will instead address the convention on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Republicans in the US House of Representatives voted to repeal the 2010 healthcare law, which the US Supreme Court ruled last month to be constitutional. It was the 33rd time the House voted against the Affordable Care Act.

The repeal bid has virtually no chance of passing the Democrat-controleld Senate. Democrats labelled the vote an "empty political gesture".

Earlier this week, Texas Governor Rick Perry said his state would not expand its Medicaid programme nor set up an online insurance exchange, two other parts of the healthcare law.

In June's ruling, the Supreme Court said states could not be penalised if they did not expand Medicaid, a government-sponsored health programme for poor or disabled Americans.

Several other states have said will they join Texas in opting out of the Medicaid expansion, but Texas has the largest percentage of uninsured people in the US.

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