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

Huckabee takes aim at 'Romneycare'

[cnn-photo-caption image=
caption="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)

    Dump the GOP and the DEMS

    Libertarian all the way

    its not about perfection its about new blood and telling the old guys bye bye

    If a socialist like Obama can get elected and a doofus like Bush we CAN AND WILL ELECT A LIBERTARIAN

    September 18, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. MCD, SF, CA

    So.... I do believe that it has NOT bankrupted all of the other countries who have similar programs. How does he reconcile his statement with that fact?

    September 18, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. JJ

    I am no fan of Mitt Romney, at least since he has apparently changed many of his positions following the end of his term as Mass. Governor in his desparate attempts to win Republican primaries. I was particularly disgusted with the mean-spirited and divisive tone and content of his speech at the 2008 Republican nationa converntion.

    However, credit where credit is due:

    1. As Governor of Mass., he made a very good faith effort to tackle the issue of the uninsured in a bipartisan manner, and, although the effort may need tweaking as all initial legislative efforts do over time, it seems to have covered most of the unisured (a goal sought by pretty much all Democrats and hopefully most Republicans) while preserving privately run and insured healthcare (a Republican holy cow).

    2. He debunked the much ballyhooed Republican mantra that universal health care can be achieved through tax breaks . . . a ridiculous notion since most uninsured people either make too little to pay income taxes or too little to itemize their deductions.

    3. Romney, like his then fellow Mass. politician Senator Kennedy, apparently viewed seeking to provide universal health care to all citizen as a moral, and I suspect a religious, obligation. Apparently, that is not the case for a large number of Republicans, including Huckaby (who is an ordained minister), despite the fact that the Republican Party keeps bragging about its adherence to judeo-christian moral and family values and its alliance with people of faith and their churches. For those Republicans, they only moral and family values they seem to want to talk about and promote is opposition to gay marriage and other rights, and opposition to abortion; they never want to discuss those judeo-christian which may actually cost money to address, such a looking after the less fortunate. And the notion that such issues can be effectively addressed solely through volunteer/charitable action is demonstrably false.

    September 18, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Randy, San Francisco

    Interesting to see which Republican presidential candidate can sling the most mud, especialy when they publicly wear the mantle of religion and family values.

    September 18, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Susan

    I think we have all learned that we cannot trust what people say, go and get the facts for yourself. I am tired of politicians twisting words and data to emphasis something they disagree with. Check the facts and report the facts. Look for the good instead of the bad. Huckabee is a creative fellow.

    September 18, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. EC

    Republicans love to EAT their own whenever it's convenient for them. I bet if you matched Romney and Huckabee they'd eat each other alive and blame the DEMOCRATS for the carnage!! LOL

    September 18, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Ci2Eye

    Huckabee is such a sleaze.

    Romney seems to be an intelligent, classy guy with impeccable morals and Huckabee attacks him every chance he gets and then tries to sell himself as a "Christian leader". The man can be downright disgusting. He knows it was the legislature in Massachusetts that added the $50. abortion provision and he knows Romney opposed it but he keeps trying to tie it to Romney hoping he can win over voters. Well, Huck, you just damage yourself when you lie and try to mislead.

    September 18, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Huckapedia


    Mike Huckabee wins Value Voter Straw poll.

    Check it out yourself and google: Huckabee Fan Club

    September 18, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  9. gc

    Gosh, reps messed up health care? Don't blames the Dems for that. Let us put a plan together that reins in the insurance companies. I will never understand why so many trust the health care industry to make their health care decisions. They are running a business for profits people, not for you!

    September 18, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  10. Saul Virginia

    As a former pastor or what ever his was. Huckabee is a bitter and a lying idiot.
    Romney on the other hand deserves the criticism since he constantly criticize universal healthcare but was the first governor to start one.
    The GOP hypocracy is unbelievable.

    September 18, 2009 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. DonnaLee

    Great ... The Rethuglican main event is about to begin. Get those two into a big old mud pit ... please though, remain clothed

    September 18, 2009 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Dennis, that is why they are called "estimates" the federal government's crystal ball into the future is not as clear as yours appears to be.

    September 18, 2009 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  13. Donna from Colorado Springs

    Let the games begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 18, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  14. rickrocket

    why don't huckabee and romney just bone and get it over with

    September 18, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. Mary

    What so many of you do not know is that Mike Huckabee got many things passed in his 10 and one-half years as Governor of Arkansas when there was a Democrat-controlled legislature there in that state.

    He also got re-elected with 48% of the African-American vote! He also broke down the huge racial barrier that existed in a church that he became pastor of in Arkansas. He is a real, genuine human being who cares about all people.

    September 18, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Party Purity will never bring Political Power!

    Huck-a-care, will dispatch thousands of televangalists through out the country to cure the sick, by the "laying on of hands", giving medical advice by "speaking in tongues" and use the Book of Fables to prescribe your meds, view "one burning bush" and call me in the morning!

    September 18, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. Joshua College Station Texas

    Geez, I like Huckabee better than Romney, but this kind of talk gives me the willies. It's sick! Abortions, socialism...give me a break! Can't we grow up already?! I am starting to think these two are a couple of nutjob yahoos. How can we take them seriously?

    September 18, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |

    This man has a Gomer Pyle 'character" personality. I am not sure
    he is at all smart. Could he be trusted to be Pres. of the United States?

    Yes, he reminds me of Gomer Pyle. with a Gomer Pyle mentality.
    Not to be mistaken for Jim Nabors, highly respected actor and singer.

    And, can you believe Fox gave him his own program?
    Who listens????/

    September 18, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  19. D. Tree

    This is one of the problems with Republicans: they care more about their dueling Faiths and Egoes than they do about making good policy!

    September 18, 2009 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |

    Mr. Rich Guy Huckabee. Do you and your family have Health Care?

    No Problem, right????????????

    September 18, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. Xumi

    Someone said the plan is popular here in MA. It's not. It has raised all of our health insurace costs - SIGNIFICANTLY. Here in MA we now pay the highest premiums in the nation. My premium went up 18% last year and then 51% THIS year. Think about that. It now costs me $589.00 a month for an individual plan (I am 28) in MA for BCBS and it's not even their best plan (they have higher plans). I shopped the other ones too... Fallon, Harvard Pilgrim, Tufts and they were all about the same. The rates are wicked here now.

    I am a liberal and have always voted democrat, but this plan was a big fat giveaway to the insurance companies who then – realizing they had a monopoly – stuck it to us all. I also realized that covering the unisured would raise the rates, but THIS MUCH!

    September 18, 2009 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  22. Seattlite

    Huckabee is little more than a religious bigot who sadly can't stand that Romney actually has experience and substance to his arguments and positions. Bigotry is not acceptable, even in politics.

    September 18, 2009 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  23. RRRUSA

    Same old Republican voices, same old Republican complaints, same old Republican non-solutions that only care about less taxes for the rich and heck with the rest of us.

    Can't wait for Palin to chime in on this one! Oh wait.........she's writing 'the book'!

    September 18, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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