Santorum blasts Gingrich over 'Romneycare'
March 10th, 2012
08:01 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum blasts Gingrich over 'Romneycare'

Springfield, Missouri (CNN) – It's a common aspect of Republican Rick Santorum's stump: attacking Mitt Romney for creating - and then "recommending" - "Romneycare" to President Barack Obama.

But Saturday, fresh off his projected win in the Kansas caucuses, Santorum added that GOP presidential rival Newt Gingrich is "honestly not a whole lot better."

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"For 20 years when I was pushing medical savings accounts, he was pushing a federal mandate for health insurance," Santorum said. "And when 'Romneycare' passed, he sent out a glowing statement talking about how this wonderful bill had just passed in Massachusetts."

Santorum argues that Obama, Gingrich and Romney all line up on the same side when it comes to their support for an individual mandate.

The campaign points to a 2006 newsletter Gingrich wrote for his consulting firm, the Center for Health Transformation, in which he praised Romney's Massachusetts health care reform.

"The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system," Gingrich wrote, according to the report.

Also in the newsletter, Gingrich expressed his support for the individual mandate in Massachusetts, but only for those making at least $54,000 a year. And while he commended Romney's effort in building the plan, he acknowledged the bill will likely face "tremendous scrutiny" from those who doubt the law will work.

Gingrich has since admitted he was "wrong" in supporting Romney's plan and has now become one of its major critics on the campaign trail.

"In retrospect we were wrong because what happens, once you go to a mandate, you have turned so much power over to the government that the politicians rather than the doctors end up defining health care," Gingrich told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in December. "So it was a mistake."

Santorum on Saturday attempted to draw the distinction that he is the only one who supports individual freedom.

"Why would the Republican Party - on the issue that won us the 2010 election - nominate either of them who are uniquely unqualified to make the case to the American public," Santorum said, adding that "they both were for top-down, government-run health care."

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Filed under: 2012 • Health care • Missouri • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Emerson

    This guy has Presidential ability written all over him. GMAFB

    March 10, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  2. texan

    Hang in there Rick-- Don`t give up the ship............ Believe in your message.

    March 10, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. Anthony

    The longer Santorum sticks around, the harder it will be for Republicans to sweep under the rug the inconvenient fact that they invented the model for Obama's health care plan. Santorum will keep the issue on the front burner all the way to the Republican convention. Santorum won't get the nomination, but Romney will be a sitting duck in the general election.

    March 10, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  4. Liz the First

    How cold-hearted do you have to be to condemn people for wanting everyone to have healthcare? who would Sanatorium want to die? according to him, i guess anyone who couldn't afford healthcare should just die. this is social Darwinism at its worst. and this is God's Own Party? if the god they're talking about is the holy, almighty Dollar, then yes, they are God's Own Party.

    March 10, 2012 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  5. helenecha

    Obamacare has been signed into the law. Where's Romneycare? Wasn't it good news that Romneycare passed in Massachusetts, Santorum? Will Romneycare potentially destroy economy in America?

    March 10, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. Santorum elected Mitt

    Honestly, after Santorum got crushed in South Carolina, he should have dropped out. If he had, Gingrich would have been the nominee. Instead, Santorum won the states republican are going to automatically win in the fall, and as a result, caused this division in the party. So if Romney gets elected, look no further than Rick Santorum as the reason why.

    March 10, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. joan

    santorum – you aren't qualified either.

    March 10, 2012 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  8. Truck It Up

    Obummer isnt smart enough to come up with anything on his own mandating healthcare wont fix anything except help Obummer union buddies keep in mind the man who signed to create Obummercare isnt covered by it he said it wasnt good enough for him!

    March 10, 2012 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  9. Larry L

    Santorum is riding the crest of radical Teavangelical enthusiasm that will soon run dry as he runs out of states filled with fundamental bigots. He'll come down to earth when he checks the actual math and realizes he's hosed.

    Republicans are all critical of the President's Healthcare plan but continually fail to offer anything of their own except gifts to HMOs and drug companies. The facts are really simple – you can't pay for health insurance if only the sick pay premiums, healthcare can't continue to reward providers for unnecessary procedures, we all can't keep paying for those with no insurance who use the ER as their source of primary care, and we can't continue to pay for people who do nothing to prevent chronic illness and live completely unhealthy lifestyles. If Republicans want only the rich to have healthcare they should simply state that position. If they plan to kill Medicare (and they do) they should state that position. These are the problems the President is trying to fix with his healthcare plan and many more would have been fixed if the Republicans hadn't simply obstructed all progress. They blocked their own ideas! If they don't like the plan we need to see their plan – now!

    March 10, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. Thomas

    Rick Santorum has often called for limits medical malpractice lawsuits, but back in 1999, his wife Karen sued her chiropractor $500,000 for allegedly injuring her back. Santorum testified in the case, telling the jury that the injury caused his wife pain and impaired her ability to campaign for him.

    Rick Santorum is an Ambulance chaser. Do as I say not as I do kinda guy.

    March 10, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. knowndoyen

    When will Santorum get a clue? The Massachusetts health care reform that Romney worked on is not the same as Obama care. Romney has always said that heath care is a state issue not a federal issue. There is a big difference to a 70 page state health care and a 2700 page federal health care. Santorum also supported Romneycare not only that but Santorum also said Romney was a true conservative. You have to wonder why Santorum is going so negative when he complains about how others are so negative. The only thing Santorum needs to understand that this issue he keeps trying to bring up is not a valid one. So Santorum get a new line. Also what both Santorum and Gingrich need to understand is that they cannot win. They are wasting time and money. I sure hope the Republicans hurry it a long and vote for the person that has always been the frontrunner.

    March 10, 2012 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  12. Former Republican, now an Independent

    This is an area where Santorum is on the wrong side of America. Health Savings Accounts have always been a phoney smoke screen for the republicans in congress, and America is getting wise to their schemes and trickery.

    March 10, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. Christina

    You most certainly are no better. As a hypocrite and liar,you yourself are unfit. You say you believe in individual freedom right? Then why when you first started your campaign did you say to people that you promise, of elected, to OUTLAW contraceptives? Then go back on it a few months later ? Could you be a pandering politician and spoke those words aimed at a specific group of people? Why, yes I believe you are ! Why are you unfit ? The reasons stated above and because you said that when you read Kennedy's speech in which he stated he believed in the absolute separation between church and state that it made you sick. Kennedy was a smart man as well as a man who respected our law, which is secular. Designed that way to be fair to everyone. He also knew that as a Catholic man he would be wise to remember that America was founded by Protestants . That any hint of him trying to force catholic belief or doctrine on people through the law would mean not getting elected pr staying in office. Your position on contraceptives is most certainly catholic doctrine. As an individual you have the right to refuse to use these things yourself but you do not have the right to deny them to others. You don't respect the law , therefore, you are not fit to represent it.

    March 10, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  14. zimbot

    Santorum attacking Gingrich for an admitted mistake is pathetic. Santorum has made no mistakes while in Congress?! Pot calling the kettle black as far as I can see.

    March 10, 2012 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  15. Orwell shrugs

    Is there a difference between Rick and Newt?
    1) republican
    2) self righteous hypocrite
    3) nut case
    4) clueless
    5) dangerous as POTUS

    March 10, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. ksmary

    Where in Mr. Santorum's plan for health care is the requirement that Health Insurance companies accept people with pre existing conditions? Does it address the issue of lifetime limits? Having a health savings account is worth nothing if your costs go to 10 or 20 thousand for a couple of days in the hospital, and you have no insurance, either because you were denied coverage, or you 'maxed out' your lifetime coverage. I wish one of these Republicans would present a plan, that meets the needs of every American and not act as insurance company cheerleaders.

    March 10, 2012 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  17. singlemom

    Santorum is a corrupt politician and emotionally blackmails the public. What successess he can put forward for being a leader? He shifts from one stand to another. What coservatisim he is talking about? he is true politician. He chooses his party than the public.

    March 10, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  18. concerned citizen

    I used to like Santorum most - but the more i got to know him, the less I like him. While healthcare is a reasonable issue to discuss, it is not the most important determinant to choose the most qualified in my opinion. While I admire Santorum's strong faith and principe, he seems to lack the most important quality as a leader - the ability to work things out - and sounds too stubborn. He appears to believe what he thinks is right should be universally right. This is a much more fundamental problem for those who want to lead a nation than healthcare policies.

    March 10, 2012 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  19. Story Reader

    "Santorum on Saturday attempted to draw the distinction that he is the only one who supports individual freedom."

    Um...what about Ron Paul?

    If by freedom Santorum means his religious theocracy then I guess he would be right..but he isn't.

    March 10, 2012 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  20. Brian James

    Ummm Ricky, this was the same argument you tried to make in Florida. How'd that work out for you? Time to change your message or go home to Pennsylvania where 30% of the electorate like you.

    March 10, 2012 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  21. iadadman

    What can one say? Seems like he's right here. "Why would the Republican Party – on the issue that won us the 2010 election – nominate either of them who are uniquely unqualified to make the case to the American public," I think Republicans have no choice but to nominate Rick Santorum. Or Sarah Palin. Or Rush Limbaugh. Let's get the real face of the modern GOP up there and have this election!

    March 11, 2012 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  22. Robert

    Gingrich KNOWS that by staying in the race he is leeching votes from Santorum and allowing Romney to move ahead. If he doesn't, then he's not smart enough to be President of the United States.

    March 11, 2012 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  23. Mary in AZ

    Just make these guys all go away! Any respect that one has had for the Republican party in the past is long lost with this primary season!

    March 11, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  24. mark worrell

    Santorem is a glorified hall monitor.

    March 11, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  25. kate46

    I'm a U.S. physician and I see no reason why a health insurance mandate will take any medical decision-making from me and give it to insurance companies. This is just propaganda. In fact, if all of my patients are insured, my decision-making ability will be increased because therapies don't need to be limited to those that are free or low-cost, and patients are more likely to agree to preventive care. From an economic view, a mandate will bring healthy young adults into the health insurance pool, thereby lowering premiums for all. That's why even conservatives like Romney and Gringrich initially supported the mandate: because it is necessary for the solvency of our current healthcare system. They are only changing their tune now because it's election time.

    March 11, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
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