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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And you do not draw a distinction that’s going to be effective for us just because it was the state level, not the federal level.
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KING: If you want, Governor, quickly?
ROMNEY: Sure, absolutely. First of all, as you probably know, Medicaid is not a state program.
SANTORUM: Of course it is. It’s a state and federal program.
ROMNEY: Medicaid is as demanded by the federal government and it is — it’s a mandate by the federal government and it’s shared 50/50, state and federal.
The people of Massachusetts who are on Medicaid — I would like to end that program at the federal level, take the Medicaid dollars and return them to the states and allow states to craft their own plans. That would make the plan we had in Massachusetts a heck of a lot better.
My view is get the federal government out of Medicaid, get it out of health care. Return it to the states. And if you want to go be governor of Massachusetts, fine. But I want to be president and let states take responsibility for their own plans.
KING: Mr. Speaker — it may seem like a while ago, Mr. Speaker, but Senator Santorum made the point, in his view, you don’t have credibility on this issue.
GINGRICH: No, what he said, which I found mildly amazing, was that he thought I would have a hard time debating Barack Obama over health care. Now, in fact, I — as Republican whip, I led the charge against Hillarycare in the House. As Speaker of the House, I helped preside over the conference which wrote into law his idea on health savings accounts. So I was delighted to help him get it to be a law.
And the fact is, I helped found the Center for Health Transformation. I wrote a book called “Saving Lives and Saving Money” in 2002. You can go to healthtransformation.net and you’ll see hundreds of ideas, none of which resemble Barack Obama’s programs.
So I’d be quite happy to have a three-hour Lincoln/Douglas style debate with Barack Obama. I’d let him use a teleprompter. I’ll just rely on knowledge. We’ll do fine.
KING: Senator, I want to bring Congressman Paul in. You’re shaking your head. Quickly.
SANTORUM: The core of Obamacare is an individual mandate. It is what is being litigated in the Supreme Court right now. It is government, top-down, telling every business, every American what kind of health care you will have. That is the problem with Obamacare at the core of it, and the Speaker supported it repeatedly for a 10-year period.
So when he goes and says, I can, you know, run rings around President Obama in a Lincoln/Douglas debate, you can’t run rings around the fact, Newt, that you supported the primary, core basis of what President Obama’s put in place.
GINGRICH: Look, just one —
KING: Quickly, Mr. Speaker. The congressman’s getting lonely down here. Let’s go.
GINGRICH: Just one brief comment. Of course you can. I can say, you know, I was wrong and I figured it out. You were wrong and you didn’t.
SANTORUM: Newt, you held that position for over 10 years. And, you know, it’s not going to be the most attractive thing to go out there and say it took me 10 or 12 years to figure out I was wrong when guys like Rick Santorum knew it was wrong from the beginning.
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