Tonight, neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich could explain to questioner Lynn Frazier, an unemployed Jacksonville resident, how they would make health care affordable for Americans like her.
Here’s the question and their answers from the debate:
LYNN FRAZIER: My name is Lynn Frazier and I live here in Jacksonville. And for the Republican presidential candidates, my question is, I'm currently unemployed and I found myself unemployed for the first time in ten years and unable to afford health care benefits. What type of hope can you promise me and others in my position?
MITT ROMNEY: Actually what both these gentlemen said is pretty much spot-on. And I'll add a couple of things. One, I want to underscore something both of them said, and that is right now in America, if you have insurance, you most likely got it through your employer. And the reason is, your employer gets a deduction for you when they buy the insurance for you. That means that if you change jobs, you got to get a new insurance economy, most likely. And if you become unemployed, you lose your insurance. That doesn't make sense. And if an individual wants to own their own insurance, not part of a big group and so as a result they get a very high rate. What we should do is allow individuals to own their own insurance and have the same tax treatment as companies get. You do that and people like this young woman would be able to own her insurance, the rates would be substantially lower for her buying it individually than if she had to buy it individually today. Secondly, getting people to work. This president has failed the American people. He got up there and gave a speech last night, it was like groundhog day all over again. He said the same things and the same results we’re seeing today. People are not working. And we know what it takes to put people back to work. He said some of those things last night: Lowering corporate taxes, lowering regulations, opening up all of the above in energy, cracking down on China. He just doesn't do any of those things and if I'm president, I will do those things and I'll get you back to work. Thank you.
NEWT GINGRICH: Look, she actually put her finger on two different problems. The largest challenge in this country is to get the economy growing so she can have a job so it is easy for her to have insurance. And the president did nothing about this the other night. In fact, his proposal on taxes would make the economy worse. We need to have a program which would start with, frankly repealing Obamacare, repealing Dodd-Frank, repealing Sarbanes-Oxley. We need to give her a chance at a job. Second, we need real health reform, not the Obama style. We need health reform that allows her to buy in, and Dr. Paul is right. She ought to get the same tax break whether she buys personally or whether she buys through a company. She should also be able to buy into an association so she's buying with lots of other people so it is not single insurance, which is the most expensive kind. You combine those two: Reforming the insurance system and getting the economy growing again so people are back at work. You cure an awful lot of America’s problems with those two steps and you put her back in a position where she's in charge of her life, she’s not dependent on Barack Obama to take care of her.
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