September 18th, 2009
02:11 PM ET
9 years ago

Huckabee takes aim at 'Romneycare'

Mike Huckabee took aim at the health care system in Massachusetts that was implemented in 2006 by then-governor Mitt Romney.

Mike Huckabee took aim at the health care system in Massachusetts that was implemented in 2006 by then-governor Mitt Romney.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – An old rivalry flared up again at the annual Values Voter Summit on Friday, when Mike Huckabee took aim at the health care system in Massachusetts that was implemented in 2006 by then-Gov. Mitt Romney.

Huckabee - who did serious damage to Romney's presidential hopes last January by winning the Iowa caucuses and has made clear his disdain for the former Massachusetts governor - told the crowd at the conservative conference that the Bay State health care system is a model for the kind of government-run health care President Obama wants to implement.

"It's going to bankrupt their entire budget," Huckabee said of the Massachusetts system, which requires residents to purchase health care or risk tax penalties. "In fact, the only thing inexpensive about Massachusetts health care bill is that there you can get a $50 abortion."

"Frankly if that's where we're headed with the public option and government run health care, thank you but no thank you, our wallets and our babies will be better off without it," Huckabee said.

Romney's spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom quickly shot back, calling the claims "not true."

"The cost of our health reforms is roughly 1.5 percent of $27 billion state budget, hardly a budget buster," Fehrnstrom said. He said the health care law doesn't mention abortion, "but court precedents in Massachusetts require government-subsidized plans to offer it."

Ferhnstrom also argued that the Massachusetts law proves that health care can be fixed without a government intrusion.

"The lesson from the Massachusetts experience is that you don't need to create a new government insurance option to get more people covered," he said. "What Governor Romney did was to strengthen our private market system."

Both Huckabee and Romney are considering repeat presidential bids in 2012.

But Huckabee isn't the only potential GOP contender to criticize "Romneycare" - in July, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty made a series of critical statements about the system, saying that costs turned out to be higher than expected, resulting in higher taxes and fees.

Filed under: Mike Huckabee • Mitt Romney
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Nestor

    what an idiot

    September 18, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  2. stan

    Its all over for the gop because their approval rating with latinos is at an all time low 14%,their rating with blacks are 3% their ratings with asians are 28%,the gop is going to be very shocked when they only win about 5 seats next year in lose 2 more seats in the senate,and if those numbers continues with minority voters in 2012 the gop is going to have to get 68% of the white vote to squeak by obama because they are getting killed with the minority vote.and the gop chances of getting 68% of the white vote is slim in none,when the right-wing realize they cant ever win again its going to be very dangerous to live in america because these right-wing haters are going to do something very bad i can just feel it,but its the gop fault for dumping their moderate views for very hard conservatives views,which turned off 95% of the minorities.

    September 18, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Why hasn't it occurred to anyone who is SOOOOOO concerned about the budget deficit caused by potential Health Care Reform, that doing nothing will be infinitely more costly? Minor health problems become larger and more expensive when they are ignored.

    September 18, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Coolbreeze Hussein

    Good stuff, I like it! On the one hand you have Huck saying it is no good and on the other you have Ole Rom's staffer saying just the opposite. Maybe, just maybe they will be able to prove that our President Obama may just be on the right track to fix this healthcare mess that we are in. I say "Fight to the Finish". Wouldn't it be just great if the fight between these two help to show the American people that the Republican party is just out for what is best for them and not the majority of the USA.

    September 18, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  5. Gary

    It's good to see Repubs fussing away at each other rather at the President. While I'm not a fan of either Huckabee nor Romney, at least Mr. Romney has tried to work out something for the state health care system. I'm not hearing a word from Huckabee as to any suggestion how to do better; all I hear is whining.....

    September 18, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    Can't fully blame Romney (he does get a good chunk of it, though) . After all, the (democrat controlled) state legislature voted it in! However, as it is slowly bankrupting the state, it is absolutely nonsensical that the liberals are actually pointing to this as a success and model for a nationwide program!

    September 18, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. D. A. Reuter, Bremerton, WA

    Gov. Huckabee, tell me that you can live with yourself knowing that 18,000 Americans die each year because they couldn't afford health insurance. The Values Voter Summit should be called The Lack of Godly, Moral and Ethical Values Voter Summit.

    September 18, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. Sam

    Mitt Romeny's probably the only Republican that I could possibly swallow as being leader of our country and the free world. He's shown (unlike almost ALL other Republicans) that he can comprimise with democrats and succeed in a political environemtn for the bettering of his state.
    Too bad the Republicans are too crazy to actually accept that he did the right thing...he's never win their primary in 2012.

    September 18, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. lefty loosy

    Seperation of church and state , can we put Huckabee in a closet somewhere and lock him in.

    September 18, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  10. Farrell in Houston

    Huckabee is a jackleg preacher turned politician and doesn't like Romney because he's Mormon. Have you seen Huckabee's wife, they look just alike.

    September 18, 2009 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Rebekah

    What pray tell would Mr. Huckabee know about health care? He has public insurance, ( paid for by our tax dollars) these guys are the biggest hypocrites! Wake up people... look at their plan, it is amazing what they get and what is paid for. Yet, it's okay for them to scream about paying for health care when they don't pay for it! Good grief, aren't we suppose to help each other... isn't that what Jesus did? He would not have complained about the cost... all that God Bless America crap really means..only if you have a ton of money... otherwise your screwed

    September 18, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. ICARE

    My little elephants, you can all fight all you want, but you know, in the end, Obama will still win in 2012. Perhaps in 2016, ya all will have a better chance.

    September 18, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Ken

    I love it when the witless eat their own. If half of the [R] base would eat just one of their fellow [R] soulmates...think of the improvement to this country. Certainly the average IQ would raise by ~10%.

    September 18, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Josh in TN

    So what both of them suck.

    September 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. ron

    Just what we need another stooge to go withall the others we already have:MCConell, Kyl, Boner, not enough space to list all.

    September 18, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Frank

    Let's make sure people, including innocent children, go without health care. That's what Jesus would do, right, Huckabee?

    September 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. Karen - Missouri

    Neither one of these guys has a clue anyway...they're Republicans so what can you expect? I'm sick of Republican one gives any suggestions...just pointing fingers. Rude, obnoxious, deceitful, whiners, clueless, critical without facts. I've had all I can take of Republicans. I used to like Huckabee...but he has no clue either! He'd let people die rather than make sure they have a right to healthcare. Ask him how many people in Arkansas have great insurance? And I'm not talking about the only a couple very large cities Arkansas has either. There's a BIG difference between governing Arkansas and Massachusetts (even though I don't like Romney...they can hardly compare their states)

    September 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. CJG

    I used to like Huckabee , but after watching his show a few times decided , not so much anymore ,he not only slams Dems he does it to his own party members that he thinks are his possible competition , so in other words just another dishonest politician. I found several of his statements incorrect .

    September 18, 2009 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  19. Jake


    at least the Republican heavyweights will destroy eachother before they even have a nominee.

    I'm excited to see what Obama will do over his eight years in office!!

    September 18, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Clint

    Oh Lord, the Baptist and the Mormon....just grab the jawbone of an ass you two and fight it out.

    September 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. lrnarug

    Huckabee should be asked about the illegal Mexicans he welcomed into his state of Arkansas and into their health care system. If any state needed help in controlling their burgeoning health care costs for illegals, it's Arkansas. Huckabee welcomed the Mexicans by giving them a Mexican consulate, located in a state owned bldg, and gave them a helping hand in adjusting to their new Country. Huckabee has never been asked about this issue and I sure wish the media wouldn't be so generous when interviewing him.

    September 18, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Tennessee Libertarian

    The Huckster is a populist – a social conservative and economic liberal who spent more $ and raised more taxes from the people as governor of Arkansas for 9 years than Bill Clinton did in 12 – if it was up to him the government would control EVERYTHING – not a lot of differnce in him and BHO, really.

    For him to call himself an economic conservative is akin to anyone in the Democratic Party saying they believe in FREEDOM – both liars.

    September 18, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Rick McDaniel

    Mr. Huckabee has demonstrated time and again, that his religion is what he politics with, and religion is not supposed to be a part of government. For that reason alone, I will ALWAYS vote against him.

    His position, like all religious maniacs, on abortion, in the face of world wide over population, is just plain ignorance.

    Humans are killing this planet so fast, with over population of the species, that it is simply impossible to look beyond 2050, without seeing serious questions about the survival of the planet.

    We need no such religious maniacs, running this country.

    September 18, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. John Luma

    Talk is cheap, Huckster. What specifically is your plan "to get more people covered"?

    You don't have one. It's just easier for you to attack the one your rival set up to help people beat the rising costs, and rationed care, of the private insurers.

    "Thanks but no thanks."

    September 18, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Proud To Be American

    Huckabee is the biggest wuss ever...that guy knows nothing

    September 18, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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