Republican Presidential Candidates Trade Barbs Over Health Care Issues
During a Republican presidential debate in Florida on Thursday, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum criticized former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for supporting an individual mandate, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Santorum said Romney's record would make him an ineffective opponent against President Obama because the former governor signed a statewide health overhaul in Massachusetts in 2006 that included an individual mandate. Santorum said both Romney and Obama support "government-run, top-down medicine" (Abcarian, Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
Romney tried to distance himself from the federal health reform law, saying that his health reform plan was intended only at the state level. He called the federal overhaul "bad medicine" and vowed to repeal it as president (Altman, "Hill Tube," The Hill, 1/26).
However, Romney defended the aim of an individual mandate. He said, "If you don't want to buy insurance, you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill." He added, "We said no more free riders" (Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
Santorum countered that Massachusetts residents must purchase insurance "as a condition of breathing" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/26).Â He also said that some Massachusetts residents are not paying the financial penalty for not having insurance. "Free ridership has gone up five-fold in Massachusetts," Santorum said (Los Angeles Times, 1/26).
Families USA Links Romney With Federal Overhaul
On Thursday, Families USA released a report outlining the similarities between the Massachusetts health reform law, signed by Romney in 2006, and the federal overhaul, National Journal reports. The report states, "A close look reveals two health laws drafted with almost identical key components" (Fox, National Journal, 1/26).
Gingrich Group Links Romney to Medicare Fraud
On Friday, Winning Our Future -- a political action committee supporting GOP candidate Newt Gingrich -- will release a seven-minute online documentary that seeks to link Romney to Medicare fraud, the AP/Miami Herald reports.
The documentary covers the acquisition of the medical testing company Damon Corporation by Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital. Bain reportedly was fined more than $35 million for Medicare fraud before going bankrupt. The video features comments made by Romney at a debate on Monday, where he insisted he never did business with the government (AP/Miami Herald, 1/26).
GOP Presidential Candidates Will Release Health Records
During a Debate on Monday, Gingrich, Romney, Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul said they would release their health records if they receive the GOP nomination, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.