Santorum: Romney Pushed for Obamacare

Sunday, 11 Mar 2012 12:04 PM

By Amy Woods

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum blasted former Gov. Mitt Romney Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” for what he described as repeated untruths about his role in pushing the state healthcare plan that became the model for Obamacare.

Santorum said Romney “repeatedly didn’t tell the truth” and “misled voters” about imposing individual federal mandates with regard to the Massachusetts health-care law. As for President Obama, Santorum said the president’s high-cost regulations are damaging businesses and hurting the economy.

Santorum told Gregory:

"Governor Romney and Barack Obama are exactly the same place on health care.

"Romneycare, Obamacare, the same, with a top-down government control of the resources, mandates and of course, now we know, thanks to --  you know, an interview that you did and others -- that Governor Romney actually advocated for the Massachusetts model that President Obama adopt, with mandates," Santorum said.

"And then went out on the campaign trail and repeatedly . . . didn't tell the truth. He went out and misled voters that somehow or another he was not for mandates at the federal level when, in fact, he was," Santorum continued.

"He went out and said, 'Oh, no, I didn't require Catholic hospitals to provide things that were against their conscience,' when, in fact, he did.

"He said, 'Oh, I didn't provide free abortions under Romneycare,' when in fact he did for some.

"So he's repeatedly had big government solutions and then gone out and told the public, bald face, that he didn't do the things that he did," Santorum said.

During the primary campaign Romney has insisted he never wanted the mandated healthcare system he implemented in Massachusetts to be used at the federal level.

However, a 2009 op-ed Romney wrote for USA Today has recently surfaced in which he urged President Obama to adopt his program, including an individual mandate, for his federal healthcare makeover. The Obama administration has claimed it used Romneycare as its model for Obamacare.

As for President Obama, Santorum told NBC that the president’s high-cost regulations are damaging businesses and hurting the economy.

When host David Gregory asked Santorum about his vote as a Pennsylvania legislator for a Medicare prescription-drug plan, the former senator said he voted for the measure because it advanced private-sector reform and put patients back in control.

“While certainly there was a Medicare prescription-drug benefit, it was done in a way that advanced the private-sector…unlike Gov. Romney, who had public-sector control of the health-care system,” he said. “The bills I voted for were private-sector-oriented programs. Gov. Romney and Barack Obama are in exactly the same place on health care. Romneycare. Obamacare. The same.”

After Saturday’s primaries, Santorum trails Romney, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is in a close third place. When asked about the competition Gingrich brings to the race, Santorum said, “the better opportunity to make sure that we nominate a conservative is to give us an opportunity to go head to head with Gov. Romney at some point, and, hopefully, that will occur sooner rather than later, but we’ll wait and see what the speaker decides.”

He commented about being “outspent 10 to 1” by Romney’s campaign and said his grassroots support will buoy him Tuesday during elections in the Deep South.

“We’re in a great position right now as we go forward with states that are very favorable to us in favorable areas in the country,” he said.

Santorum needs an approximate 61 percent of the remaining delegates in order to beat Romney and capture the nomination. The conservative candidate countered that statistic by saying a majority of delegates already in place are uncommitted and unbound.

“This isn’t a mathematical formula,” he said. “This race has a tremendous amount of dynamics. These numbers are going to change dramatically. These are the kinds of things that happen that can change as the dynamic of this race changes as we go on.”

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