Rick Santorum delivers serious smackdown on 'Romneycare'
Rick Santorum launched his most cogent attack on Gov. Mitt Romney's health care program in Massachusetts, during Thursday's South Carolina debate.
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… then we have Speaker Gingrich, who has been — who has been for an individual mandate, not back when the time that just was — Heritage was floating around in the ’90s, but as late as comments since 2008, just a few years ago.
He stood up and said that you should have an individual mandate or post $150,000 bond. How many $150,000 bond holders do we have here who can post a bond for their health insurance?
These are two folks who don’t present the clear contrast that I do, who was the author of health savings accounts, which is the primary basis of every single conservative reform of health care.
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I was the author of it back in 1991 and ‘92, 20 years ago. I’ve been fighting for health reform, private sector, bottom up, the way America works best, for 20 years, while these two guys were playing footise with the left.
KING: I want to bring Congressman Paul — bring you into the discussion in just a moment. But Senator Santorum directly challenged the governor and then the speaker. Governor, you first.
ROMNEY: Well, so much of what the senator said was wrong. Let me mention a few of the things. First of all, the system and my state is not a government-run system. Ninety-two percent of the people had their own insurance before the system was put in place and nothing changed for them. They still had the same private insurance. And the 8 percent of the uninsured, they brought private insurance, not government insurance.
And the people in the state still favor the plan 3-1. And it certainly doesn’t work perfectly. Massachusetts, by the way, had the highest insurance costs before the plan was put in place and after. But fortunately, the rate of growth has slowed down a little less than the overall nation.
And one of the things I was proud of is that individuals who wanted to buy their own insurance saw their rates — when they were not part of a big group — saw their rates drop by some 40 percent with our plan.
Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But I do believe that having been there, having been in the front lines, showing that I have compassion for people that don’t have insurance but that the Obama plan is a 2,700-page massive tax increase, Medicare-cutting monster. I know how to cut it. I’ll eliminate it. I will repeal it. And I’ll return to the — I’ll return the power to the states, where the power for caring for the uninsured ought to reside constitutionally. Thank you.
KING: Senator Santorum, he says your facts are wrong.
SANTORUM: Well, they’re simply not wrong. The fact is that, yes, you’re right, Governor Romney. Ninety-two percent of people did have health insurance in — in Massachusetts. But that wasn’t private- sector health insurance. A lot of those people were, as you know, on Medicare and Medicaid. So they’re already on government insurance, and you just expanded.
In fact, over half the people that came on the rolls since you put Romneycare into effect are fully subsidized by the state of Massachusetts. And a lot of those are on the Medicaid program.
So the idea that you have created this marketplace in — with this government-run health care system, where you have very prescriptive programs about reimbursements rates. You have very prescriptive programs just like what President Obama is trying to put in place here.
You’re arguing for a plan; you’re defending a plan that is top-down. It is not a free-market health care system. It is not bottom-up. It is prescriptive and government. It was the basis for Obamacare.