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Republican Presidential Candidates’ Rhetoric On Health Care Masks Their Record

September 07, 2011 at 9:17 P.M.

Though the Republican candidates rail against health care reform now, their criticism ignores the reality of their records. While one candidate implemented similar health reforms in their state, another candidate tried to do the same and another’s state has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation. They can try to convince Americans they’ve always oppose health care reform, but the truth is – they were for it before they were against it.

 

MITT ROMNEY PASSED HEALTH LEGISLATION SIMILAR TO THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

PolitiFact: “The Truth Is That There Are An Awful Lot Of Similarities Between The Plan He Signed In Massachusetts In 2006 Often Called ‘RomneyCare’ And The One That President Barack Obama Signed In 2010.”  “Last week, Mitt Romney gave a speech and a PowerPoint presentation to distance himself from the new federal health care law, which Republicans often call ‘ObamaCare.’ But the truth is that there are an awful lot of similarities between the plan he signed in Massachusetts in 2006, often called ‘RomneyCare,’ and the one that President Barack Obama signed in 2010. Both leave in place the major insurance systems: employer-provided insurance, Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for the poor. They seek to reduce the number of uninsured by expanding Medicaid and by offering tax breaks to help moderate income people buy insurance. People are required to buy insurance or pay a penalty, a mechanism called the ‘individual mandate.’ And companies that don't offer insurance have to pay fines, with exceptions for small business and a few other cases.” [Politifact, 5/18/11]

Wall Street Journal :  “Everyone Knows, The Health Reform Mr. Romney Passed In 2006 As Massachusetts Governor Was The Prototype For President Obama’s Version And Gave National Health Care A Huge Political Boost.”  Wall Street Journal editorial in anticipation of Romney’s heath care address: “As everyone knows, the health reform Mr. Romney passed in 2006 as Massachusetts Governor was the prototype for President Obama's version and gave national health care a huge political boost.” [Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 5/12/11]

Romney: “There Are Some Similarities Between What We Did In Massachusetts And What President Obama Did.”  At the Iowa Fox News debate Mitt Romney said of Pawlenty comparing President Obama’s health care plan to Romney’s:  “I think I like Tim's answer at the last debate better. There are some similarities between what we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did, but there are some big differences. And one is, I believe in the 10th Amendment of the Constitution. And that says that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people.” [Fox News Debate, Iowa, 8/11/11]

 

JON HUNTSMAN CONSIDERED A MANDATE WHEN HE TRIED TO REPLICATE THE MASSACHUSETTS HEALTH PLAN

Tonight Huntsman Said: “We Embarked Upon Health Care Reform” In Utah And We Did It Without “A Mandate.” “I want to draw you to another example, we embarked upon health care reform. We did better than rick in terms of covering the uninsured and we don't have a mandate.” [Ronald Reagan Library GOP Debate, 9/7/11]

Huntsman Said He Was “Comfortable” With An Individual Mandate. [Ben Smith, Politico, 5/31/11]

Huntsman Supported An Individual Mandate In 2005 And His Office Drafted A Health Care Reform Bill That Was “An Attempt To Replicate What Massachusetts Has Done.” [Huffington Post, 6/9/11]

Huntsman Wanted To See If Utah “Could Replicate What Massachusetts Had Done,” And Said A Mandate “Has To Be Part Of It In Some Way, Shape Or Form.” “In Utah, Mr. Huntsman was clearly intrigued by what Mr. Romney had achieved, and in 2007, his third year in office, he set a goal of cutting the number of uninsured in half by 2010. With about 17 percent of residents uninsured, the governor viewed expanded coverage as a way to lower costs for employers and stoke his state’s competitiveness. He had already lifted a spending cap on the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, which allowed unlimited enrollment and contributed to declines in the number of young uninsured. In 2007, he hired John T. Nielsen, a former hospital system lawyer, to investigate whether 'we could replicate what Massachusetts had done,”Mr. Nielsen said. He also lent his aides to a high-powered working group convened by the United Way of Salt Lake that ultimately devised a plan that relied on an exchange and an individual mandate. In at least two interviews that year, Mr. Huntsman described a mandate as necessary to achieving the kind of expansion he envisioned. 'I think if you’re going to get it done and get it done right, mandate has to be part of it in some way, shape or form,' Mr. Huntsman told the public television station KUED.” [New York Times, 9/4/11]

 

HEALTH CARE COVERAGE HARD TO FIND IN RICK PERRY’S TEXAS

Under Perry, “More Than 5.2 Million Texans Live In Areas Designated As Official Health Professional Shortage Areas” And Texas “Ranks 48th Out Of 50 States In The Number Of Physicians Per 100,000 Residents.” “Perry touts his lawsuit reform policies, which helped lure 17,000 new physicians to the state, but that hardly made a dent in Texas' growing needs for health care professionals. More than 5.2 million Texans live in areas designated as official health professional shortage areas. Texas ranks 48th out of 50 states in the number of physicians per 100,000 residents.” [Houston Chronicle, 8/17/11]

Under Perry, Texas Health Insurance “Premiums Are Well Above The National Average.” [Houston Chronicle, 8/17/11]

Under Perry, “The Number Of Texans Who Qualify For Medicaid Has Grown 80 Percent.” “The number of Texans who qualify for Medicaid has grown 80 percent since 2001… Most of Texas' new jobs are low income and have been accompanied by a soaring number of Texans who qualify for Medicaid - from 2.1 million in 2001 to 3.5 million today.” [Houston Chronicle, 8/17/11]

2009: Texas Had The Highest Percentage Of People Without Health Insurance Of Any State In America, At 26%. [Kaiser Foundation, State Health Facts – 2009, accessed 8/31/11]

  • 2009: Texas Had 6.2 Million Uninsured People. [Kaiser Foundation, State Health Facts – 2009, accessed, 8/31/11]

Under Perry, 2000 – 2009: The Percentage Of Texans Without Health Insurance Increased From 22.4% To 26.1%. [State Health Access Data Assistance Center, Current Population Survey Data – 2000 and 2009, accessed 8/31/11]

Under Rick Perry, Texas Agencies Have Accepted Nearly $20 Million In Grants Authorized By The Affordable Care Act. “Mr. Perry has railed against the 2010 federal health law as 'socialism on American soil' and strongly backs litigation challenging its requirement that most Americans, starting in 2014, obtain insurance. But his state agencies have accepted nearly $20 million in grants authorized by the act, including $1 million to plan for the new insurance marketplaces known as exchanges.” [New York Times, 9/4/11]

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