FIORINA: Well, first ObamaCare has to be repealed because it's failing the very people it was intended to help, but, also, it is crony-capitalism at its worst. Who helped write this bill? Drug companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, every single one of those kinds of companies are bulking up to deal with big government. So, we have to repeal it. It's tens of thousands of pages long, no one can possible understand it except the big companies, the lawyers, the accountants, the lobbyists that they hire to protect their interests. Then, we have to give back to states the responsibility to manage a high risk pool. We need to try the one thing in health insurance we've never tried. Health insurance has always been a cozy, little game between regulators and health insurance companies. We need to try the free market. The free market. Where people actually have to compete.
FIORINA: The alternative is to allow states to manage high risk pools for those who really need help. Look, I'm a cancer survivor, OK? I understand that you cannot have someone who's battled cancer just become known as a pre-existing condition. I understand that you cannot allow families to go bankrupt if they truly need help. But, I also understand that ObamaCare isn't helping anyone . We're throwing more and more people into Medicaid, and fewer and fewer doctors are taking those payments. The point is ObamaCare is crushing small businesses, it is not helping the families it was intended to help. So, let us allow states to manage high risk pools. Let us try the one thing in health insurance we've never tried, the free market. Let us ensure that as patients and customers that we have information to shop wisely for our health care.
FIORINA: Health insurance has always been a cozy, little game between regulators and health insurance companies. We need to try the free market.
TRUMP: The ObamaCare bill--nobody ever read it. They passed it; nobody read it. And look at mess we have right now. And it will be repealed.
CRUZ: The Congressional exemption from ObamaCare, which is fundamentally wrong, and I'll tell you this, if I'm elected president, I will veto any statute that exempts members of congress. The law should apply evenly to every American.
Fiorina appears to be citing Small Business Administration statistics on the number of small business "deaths" in 2011. This was at least four years before ObamaCare's mandate on employers took effect. ObamaCare does not apply to small businesses with fewer than 50 full-time employees. The SBA defines small businesses as those with fewer than 500 workers. Certainly, some small businesses subject to health reform are straining to adhere to the rules. The National Federation of Independent Businesses is a strong critic of ObamaCare, saying the mandate is hurting their members and not lowering their cost of providing health insurance.
But there's no indication that ObamaCare is costing jobs. Few employers subject to the mandate report changing their staffing or hiring because of ObamaCare, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Education Trust survey.
CLINTON: Well, I want to make sure every child gets health care. I want to open up the opportunity for immigrants to be able to buy into the exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. To go beyond that--it would be very difficult to administer
O'MALLEY: I think what you've heard is some of the old thinking on immigration reform, and that's why it's gridlocked. Our country is stronger in every generation by the arrival of new American immigrants. That is why I have put out a policy for comprehensive immigration reform, that is why I would go further than President Obama has on DACA, and DAPA. I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we're all in this together.
OnTheIssues note: DACA is "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals"; DAPA is "Deferred Action for Parents of Americans"; both would prevent deportation of illegal immigrants.
BUSH: Well, I'm surprised Senator Cruz would say that since he was as strong supporter of John Roberts at the time. I will talk about what I will do as it relates to appointing Supreme Court Justices. We need to make sure that we have justices that, with a proven experienced record of respect for upholding the constitution. That is what we need. The history in recent past is to appoint people that have no experience so that you can't get attacked. I'm willing to fight for those nominees to make sure that they get passed. You can't do it the politically expedient way anymore.
CRUZ: Yes, it was a mistake when John Roberts was appointed to the Supreme Court. I supported his confirmation. That was a mistake and I regret that
LESSIG: Yes, they could say that, but of course, you have to remember when health care was passed, we had a super majority in the Senate and we had a majority in the House. And even health care had to make important compromises to the special interests so drug prices can't be negotiated because pharmaceutical companies said they would spend millions to defeat Democrats and the public option that the president promised was thrown out the window when insurance companies said they would spend millions to defeat Democrats. So even the most important thing he did--and I'm a big supporter of the president, he's been an amazing president--but the most important thing he did is compromised by the corrupt way in which we fund campaigns.
A: That's right.
Q: I should point out that you are a survivor of breast cancer; didn't your experience show you that the preexisting condition part of ObamaCare is crucial?
A: I absolutely endorse that goal. But guess what? None of that has worked. Demonstrably, if you look at the results of ObamaCare, what you see is emergency room visits are up over 50%. Health insurance premiums are up almost 40% now. We're dumping more and more people into Medicaid. Medicaid is a program that fewer and fewer doctors will accept patients from. That isn't helping anyone with cancer, I can assure you. The problem is this.
Q: But the expansion of the pool allows the insurance companies to pay for the people with preexisting conditions.
A: The health insurance companies and the drug companies who helped write ObamaCare are consolidating. That's called crony capitalism. Meanwhile, people are getting left on the sidelines.
We can't do anything right. Our military has to be strengthened. Our vets have to be taken care of. We have to end ObamaCare, and we have to make our country great again, and I will do that.
TRUMP: A complete disaster, yes.
Q: Saying it needs to be repealed & replaced.
Q: Now, 15 years ago, you called yourself a liberal on health care. You were for a single-payer system, a Canadian-style system. Why were you for that then and why aren't you for it now?
TRUMP: As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It could have worked in a different age. What I'd like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands of employees. And if I'm negotiating in BY or NJ or CA, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid. You know why? Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians. They're making a fortune. Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have yourself great plans. And then we have to take care of the people that can't take care of themselves. And I will do that through a different system.
JINDAL: Under President Obama and Secretary Clinton, they're working hard to change the American dream into the European nightmare. They do celebrate more dependence on the government. Give Bernie Sanders credit: he's honest enough to call himself a socialist. Barack Obama & Hillary Clinton, they're no better. If we were to expand Medicaid, we're going to have too many people in the cart rather than pulling the cart. This isn't free money. There is a better way to provide health care. Simply expanding Medicaid does not improve health care outcomes. In Louisiana, instead we're helping people get jobs so they can provide for their own health care.
Q: So Governor Kasich was wrong?
JINDAL: I don't think anybody should be expanding Medicaid. It's a mistake to create new and more expensive entitlement programs when we can't afford the ones we've got today.
A: I'm opposed to ObamaCare and I've been clear on that. In addition to that, instead of locking people up in prison who have mental health [problems], we give them treatment and keep them out and that saves us money. Instead of putting the drug addicted person back in prison and having them be released and back in prison, we treat them and we have a 10% recidivism rate. And for the working poor, instead of us all paying uncompensated care when they go in there and they don't have insurance, they now have health care so they're not sicker and more expensive. Now, we not only save money by doing this, and morally, we're letting people get up on their feet and have a better life. In regard to Medicaid, however, we bring our money back to treat people here in Ohio. I would [prefer to] block grant it, empowering states to deal with those who are sick and poor, so it's not a one-size-fits-all mentality.
I would urge everyone to read Justice Scalia's dissents. He said that these decisions are an assault on democracy. That this is 5 unelected lawyers declaring they are the rulers of 320 million Americans.
A: You know, I looked at that. I looked at it very seriously. Some people don't agree with me on this: I want everyone to have coverage. I love the free market, but we never had a free market. Even before ObamaCare, it wasn't really free market. As an example, in New York, when I wanted to bid out my health insurance, we had boundaries. I could only go in New York. If I wanted to bid it out to a company from California or New Jersey, anywhere--you get no bids.
Q: But the single payer, you're not interested anymore?
A: No. No, these are different times. And over the years, you are going to change your attitudes. You're going to learn things and you're going to change. And I have evolved on that issue. I have evolved on numerous issues.
Jindal, who ran the Louisiana health system when he was still in his 20s, has said the Affordable Care Act is a drain on the economy and bad healthcare policy. The governor has released a 23-page replacement proposal, called "America Next," which would create a new tax deduction for healthcare and set up a new $100 billion government subsidy fund to help individuals earning low incomes or with pre-existing conditions purchase insurance. In 2013, Jindal proposed delaying the Medicaid expansion and health care exchanges under Obamacare to save enough money to avoid across-the-board budget cuts
And remember the $5 billion Web site? $5 billion we spent on a Web site, and to this day it doesn't work. I have so many Web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a Web site.
And it's going to get worse, because remember, ObamaCare really kicks in, in 2016. It is going to be amazingly destructive. Doctors are quitting. I have a friend who's a doctor, and he said to me, "Donald, I never saw anything like it. I have more accountants than I have nurses."
We have to repeal ObamaCare, and it can be replaced with something much better for everybody. Let it be for everybody. But much better and much less expensive for people and for the government. And we can do it.
Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, Trump said ObamaCare is a catastrophe that must be repealed and replaced. In 2011, Trump suggested that the health insurance industry have more ability to cross state lines. In "The America We Deserve" Trump wrote that he supported universal healthcare and a system that would mirror Canada's government-run healthcare service.
An ObamaCare advocate, O'Malley supported expanding Maryland's health insurance options before the Affordable Care Act became law. When implementing the new healthcare law during his tenure, Maryland's online health exchange saw repeated problems. It was overhauled in 2014. O'Malley supported and approved a unique statewide Medicare waiver, designed to move Maryland hospitals away from a fee-for-service payment method. Considered the nation's only "all-payer system," the state sets medical costs, capping what hospitals can charge. O'Malley has said he wants to the system to be a model for the nation.
Carson: ObamaCare fundamentally changes the relationship between the people and the government. The government is supposed to respond to the will of the people. Not dictate to the people what they are doing. And with this program, we're allowing that whole paradigm to be switched around.
Sanders voted for the Affordable Care Act, but believes that the new health care law did not go far enough. Instead, he espouses a single-payer system in which the federal and state governments would provide health care to all Americans. Participating states would be required to set up their own single-payer system and a national oversight board would establish an overall budget.
Unelected bureaucrats should not have the power to enact regulations that affect the lives of everyday Americans. Whether it's ObamaCare or EPA regulations, cutting red tape and opening the regulatory process to scrutiny is an important step in holding government accountable to all Americans.
In the Senate, I proudly introduced the Regulations from the Executive Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act. This legislation is designed to increase accountability for and transparency in the Federal regulatory process.
As President, I will place common sense and reasonable limitations on a bureaucracy that seeks to target well-intentioned businesses with burdensome regulations.
As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care. Prior to the implementation of ObamaCare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms--but ObamaCare is not the answer.
Government interventions in health care have driven up the cost of coverage and decreased competition within the market. More--not less--freedom to choose and innovate will make sure our health care system remains the best in the world.
As your President, I will ensure that real free-market principles are applied to the American health care system so that it is responsive to patients, families, and doctors, rather than government bureaucracy.
For those in need of a New Testament refresher: In Matthew 25, Jesus admonishes his followers to aid the less fortunate. Kasich has cited the passage repeatedly of late in defending his ObamaCare-fueled Medicaid expansion--an act of Republican apostasy that prompted widespread dismay among his party brethren.
He gets back on track: "With this whole spiritual element, let's get away from the judgment side of it. I think it's actually what the Pope's trying to do. The Pope's saying, 'Why don't we get into the feeding the hungry and clothing the naked and helping the imprisoned and helping the lonely? That's what we're commanded to do. To me, this is a gift that I've been able to feel this way."
When asked about ISIS, Trump said he "would hit them so hard and so fast that they wouldn't know what happened." He later claimed his approach would be one that historical military figures General Douglas McArthur and General George Patton would approve of.
As for his GOP rivals also eyeing the White House, Cruz seemed to raise doubts about their credentials and called on the audience to demand that all presidential aspirants demonstrate their conservative bona fides: "Demand action, not talk," Cruz said. "If a candidate tells you that they oppose ObamaCare, fantastic! But when have you stood up and fought against it? If a candidate says they oppose Obama's illegal executive amnesty, terrific. When have you stood up and fought against it?
"Repeal every blasted word of ObamaCare," Cruz concluded.
Carson spent much of his 12-minute address ripping President Obama's Affordable Care Act as well as other federal entitlement programs, telling the crowd that "Obamacare is about restriction and control."
"Everything that these programs were supposed to fix has gotten worse," he said.
Carson went on to briefly touch on a series of ideas that are typically well-received among conservatives, including trimming the national debt and reducing the size of government. "One of the things that is going to destroy us as a nation is our debt," he said, as several members of the audience yelled "yes" in support. "The size of our government needs to be going down and the debt needs to be going down."
But it was the question about what Cruz would do as president that drew the most raucous response. "Repeal every blasted word of ObamaCare," Cruz said as he ticked off a list that included "abolish the IRS," "restore America's leadership in the world," get rid of "amnesty" in the immigration system, and reduce the "alphabet soup" of regulations.
"Some might say, this is hard. This is really hard. The media tells us it can't be done. But you know each of us has seen miracles every day," Cruz said.
Cruz noted that a Catholic religious order, the Little Sisters of the Poor, has been battling with the Obama administration over mandates in the Affordable Care Act the sisters say would violate their religious liberties. "Here is a real good rule of thumb: If you are litigating against nuns, as the Obama administration is, you have probably done something wrong," Cruz said.
President Obama's fundamental promise that if you like your doctor you can keep them--was a lie. ObamaCare, at its core, takes away a patient's right to choose. Under ObamaCare, patients are prohibited from choosing their doctor or their insurance. Today, more Americans may have medical insurance, but Americans are now paying more money for worse care.
The relationship between doctor and patient is withering. Doctors are fleeing the profession they love. Hospitals are straining, closing, or refusing to accept ObamaCare policies. Everyone knows our health care system needed reforming, but it was the wrong prescription to choose more government instead of more consumer choice and competition. How should we fix our healthcare system? Let's try freedom again. It worked for over 200 years!
So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.
|Where Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton agree on Social / domestic issues|
|Where they disagree:||Bill Clinton||Hillary Clinton|
|Three Strikes:||Tough on crime||Limit mandatory sentencing|
|Gay marriage:||Supports some gay rights||Strongly supports|
|School prayer:||No official school prayer||No religious instruction|
|School choice :||Supports charters for all||No private nor parochial choice|
|Legalize marijuana :||Keep war on drugs||Open to legalization|
Companies like Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Yelp--through their Washington trade group, the Internet Association--are public backers of net neutrality. They together have praised Obama for endorsing an approach that might subject the Internet to utility-like regulation. All three Republicans, however, rejected the president's suggestion. Rubio hammered it as "government regulation of the Internet" that "threatens to restrict Internet growth and increase costs on Internet users." And Cruz lambasted net neutrality as "ObamaCare for the Internet" in a tweet that went viral--and drew plenty of criticism.
CRUZ: We've got to demonstrate that the campaign words Republicans used on the trail were more than just talk, that we're willing to honor our commitment.
Q: But you're willing to shut down departments and you're willing to take the backlash? It didn't work very well with ObamaCare.
CRUZ: At the time, you and a lot of folks in the press said what a disaster it was to stand up and fight on ObamaCare. That it was going to cost Republicans the majority. It was going to cost seats. Let me point out, we just had an historic election where we won. We've got the biggest majority in the House since the 1920s. And the number one issue that candidates campaigned on was ObamaCare. Not only did the disaster that a lot of folks predicted not happen, it was the biggest victory we've had in a long time.
FIORINA: I think that the Republican House will pass the bill that repeals it. I think ultimately this bill does need to be repealed.
Q: And you don't think the Senate will?
Click for Carly Fiorina on other issues. Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls
FIORINA: This law is longer than a Harry Potter novel. It's been accompanied of tens of thousands of paper regulation. Of course nobody understands it.
Q: But of course, with healthcare, you're going to write a big, long law. Or you don't?
FIORINA: Well, or, you can go to the one force that we know reliably improves quality and lowers costs and it's called competition. The health insurance market has never been competitive. It was crony capitalism, the way this bill was written between the health insurance companies trying to protect their franchises and big government.
RYAN: My argument is to focus on outcomes: Are we actually getting people out of poverty? And the best way to do that is to listen to people on the ground, the people who are fighting poverty person to person, and give them more flexibility in exchange for more accountability to actually get people out of poverty. We have learned good lessons about the right way to do this and not. And I would argue that we can customize the benefit to a person based on their particular needs which actually helps them get out of poverty long term. We've spend $800 billion every year on 92 different programs to fight poverty. Yet we have the highest poverty rates in a generation.
During the bill's passage, I spoke to one of the president's senior staffers and said that this unilateral act would create an unprecedented level of dissension and rancor that could preclude cordial working relationships for an extended time. The response I got was, "So what? That's nothing new."
This "my way or the highway" approach has resulted in disaster. Influenced by special interest groups, like some of the insurance companies that stood to benefit from the exchanges, and the Trial Lawyers Association, which supports anything that doesn't include tort reform, Democrats tried to create a bandwagon effect.
The Democrats now have an albatross around their necks with ObamaCare and will forever be blamed for destroying a reasonable healthcare system that was working for 85% of the populace.
DR. BEN CARSON (ON TAPE): Obamacare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it was never about health care, it was about control.
Q: People who have health care now who didn't have it before, I suspect would disagree strongly.
CARSON: Recognize what I said, "in a way." In a way, anything is slavery that robs you of your ability to control your own life. And when you take the most important thing that you have, which is your health care, and you put that in the hands of government bureaucrats, I think you have done the wrong thing. This is not what America is about. Do I believe in health care for everybody? Absolutely. But I think there are much better ways to get there, which leave the care in the hands of patients and of doctors.
SANTORUM: I think it's still among Republicans. We have half-a-billion dollars wasted by the federal government on setting up four exchanges that have failed on the state level, with more that are going to fail. I mean, this still is a big problem for our country. And so what Republicans need to do is talk about what they would do. Whether you want to call it fixing it, whether you want to call replacing it, I don't think that's as important as saying, "here is the vision for how we can create a better health care system."
SEN. WARREN: Take a look at the House if you want to see what happens when Republicans take over. What are they on now, is this their fiftieth vote to repeal Obamacare? That's not how you run a country. We have real issues we need to deal with. Minimum wage, student loan debt, equal pay for equal work, a little accountability for the big financial institutions.
Q: Your fans say you're a populist, but your critics say you're just basically a socialist.
WARREN: I just don't know where they get that. You know, look at the issues. Minimum wage? I just believe nobody should work full time and live in poverty. And you know what? Most of America agrees. Student loans, I don't think the U.S. government should be making tens of billions of dollars in profits off the backs of our students, which is what the current student loan system is doing. And I think most Americans agree with me on that.
Even so, he has been less vocally against the law than others in his party, even counseling a more gentle response: "It might actually be a politically, a better approach to see the massive dysfunction. I think Republicans need to just take a step back and show a little self-restraint and let this happen a little more organically," said Bush, according to Politico. "I think the best way to repeal ObamaCare is to have an alternative; we never hear the alternative."
This unequal tax treatment is at the root of the pre-Obamacare problems in our healthcare system that the president keeps referring to, beginning in 1942.
To take advantage of the anomaly in the tax code, employers began giving employees prepaid routine medical care through "insurance" polices that were no longer actually insurance in the classic sense.
EMANUEL: I was chief of staff. I was charged with trying to produce a health care bill that hadn't been done in 100 years. And I will say, it happened.
Q: When the ObamaCare website wasn't working properly, did you want to be in Washington trying to fix it?
EMANUEL: You gotta be kidding. You get a freebie question for the ridiculousness of that question.
Q: I was asking about your competitive instinct. You say you like to fix things.
EMANUEL: That goes down as one of the more intriguing questions I have ever had. Did I wish I was in Washington to fix a website? Let me answer that. I have a single-word answer. No. Please do not edit out the sarcasm of that answer.
Q: Don't worry, it is staying.
EMANUEL: I don't want it to be missed on your readers.
RICK SANTORUM: Well, it was the issue in 2010 that caused us to have the Tea Party revolution. It was all around the issue of health care. And this election is going to be all around the issue of health care. And they are two great elections for Republicans. 2012 was not about health care.
Q: Missed opportunity now getting back politically?
SANTORUM: You know, that's the area that really was my strength. I was the first person that introduced health savings accounts, and the Congress worked on Medicare and Medicaid reform when I was there. I felt like we had the opportunity to really focus on that: Look at what ObamaCare is really doing. It's driving up costs right now. I think you're going to see these numbers not be as encouraging as the administration has pointed out.
CRUZ: If enough Congressional Democrats realize they either stand with ObamaCare and lose, or they listen to the American people and have a chance at staying in office, that's the one scenario we could do it in 2015. If not, we'll do it in 2017.
Q: So you honestly think there's a chance that you can get ObamaCare repealed, every word, as you say?
CRUZ: Every single word.
Q: With Obama in the White House?
CRUZ: You know, what's funny is the media treats that as a bizarre proposition.
Q: Well, it is.
CRUZ: It is the most unpopular law in the country. Millions of people have lost their jobs, have lost their health care, have been forced into part-time work, have their premiums skyrocketing. And right now, Washington isn't listening to those people. That's how we win elections and that's also how we repeal ObamaCare.
Last year, our fellow Americans had decided, evidently, to double-down on hopey-changey. But then, something happened, that 'hope and change' went from a catchy campaign slogan to a reality, and along the way, 'yes we can,' it became 'no you can't, no, you can't log on to the website, no you can't keep your health care.'
Americans know now: there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. There is no free birth control. There's no free doctor visits. Someone always pays, and if you don't know who that someone is, it's probably you.
Clinton suggested she's open to different ways of achieving the health law's goals. She praised Arkansas for carrying out a new approach to expanding Medicaid coverage, by using the federal money to buy private health insurance for more than 100,000 low-income residents.
But the main goal, Clinton said, should be to keep moving ahead with the law. And in a subtle swipe at the Obama administration, she suggested that the law's supporters haven't done the best job explaining what Americans stand to gain from it. "We have to do a better job than has been done, quite frankly, in explaining the benefits," Clinton said.
O'MALLEY: With any new program, there are always problems. But the goal is to cover more people so that we can improve the wellness of our people and not have the constantly escalating costs of health care.
Q: So is this thing going to work?
O'MALLEY: Oh, it's going much better. And it will continue to improve. Look, the larger battle is to bring down the cost of health care which is keeping us from being a more productive country. The perceptions of the Affordable Care Act will greatly change once the enrollment period comes to close by the end of March. By the end of March, you will see most states hitting their goals, you'll see our country having extended health care with more people. And all of those that have been scared and frightened that somehow something is going to happen to their health care will realize that those scare tactics were not true, that those were just falsehoods pedaled by the ideological right.
JINDAL: That was an RNC audience. And you can tell there was some nervous laughter when I said that. I've got Op-Ed coming out tomorrow: we can't just be the party of no. As a party, we've got good solutions. Why not delay all of the mandates in ObamaCare? Why not approve the Keystone Pipeline today? The Republican Party needs to be all about growth, opportunity, creating good paying private sector jobs.
Is it true? The Facts: ObamaCare expands Medicaid to individuals with incomes of up to 138% of the poverty level. So far, 25 states have expanded Medicaid. Because of the ACA, the number of Americans on Medicaid will increase by 8 million in 2014.
That figure includes some people who were previously eligible for Medicaid but had never signed up before all the publicity about new health-care options (known as people coming out of the "woodwork"), and also includes people previously enrolled in Medicaid who are deemed eligible for another year (in other words, "normal churn").
[Those two categories add up to as much as 4.8 million people, although states don't report those figures well, so much is left to guesswork. Obama's estimate would mean those two categories are only 1 million people]. No matter how you slice it, it does not add up to 7 million.
THE FACTS: Some Medicare premiums have gone up, not stayed flat.
As Obama said, insurers can no longer turn people down because of medical problems, and they can't charge higher premiums to women because of their sex. The law also lowered costs for seniors with high prescription drug bills. But Medicare's monthly premium for outpatient care has gone up in recent years.
Although the basic premium remained the same this year at $104.90, it increased by $5 a month in 2013, up from $99.90 in 2012. Obama's health care law also raised Medicare premiums for upper-income beneficiaries, and both the president and Republicans have proposed to expand that.
There is no example of lawlessness more egregious than the enforcement--or non-enforcement--of the president's signature policy, the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Obama has repeatedly declared that "it's the law of the land." Yet he has repeatedly violated ObamaCare's statutory text.
The law says that businesses with 50 or more full-time employees will face the employer mandate on Jan. 1, 2014. President Obama changed that, granting a one-year waiver to employers. How did he do so? Not by going to Congress to change the text of the law, but through a blog post by an assistant secretary at Treasury announcing the change.
In other words, rather than go to Congress and try to provide relief to the millions who are hurting because of the "train wreck" of ObamaCare (as one Senate Democrat put it), the president instructed private companies to violate the law and said he would in effect give them a get-out-of-jail-free card--for one year, and one year only. Moreover, Obama simultaneously issued a veto threat if Congress passed legislation doing what he was then ordering.
In the more than two centuries of our nation's history, there is simply no precedent for the White House wantonly ignoring federal law and asking private companies to do the same.
CRUZ: In terms of whether we should have stood and fought on ObamaCare, I think the proof is in the pudding. Millions of people across the country have seen why we were standing and fighting because ObamaCare is a disaster. Five million Americans all across this country had their health insurance canceled because of ObamaCare. [Obama should] look in the camera say, "I'm sorry. I told you if you like your health insurance plan you can keep it. I told you if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor and that wasn't true." But then, here is the real kicker, if you are really sorry, you actually do something to fix the problem. The pattern we've seen over and over again with this president is he says he's sorry, expresses outrage then doesn't fix the problem, he keeps doing it over and over.
But as a state, and as an elected government, we will not be victims in this process. We rejected the federal government's less than generous offer to run a state exchange, an offer that would have Washington bureaucrats dictating the exchange and South Carolinians paying for it.
And, with your help, we emphatically said no to the central component of ObamaCare, the expansion of a broken Medicaid program that is already cannibalizing our budget, and would completely destroy it in the years to come.
These were not decisions made lightly, without thought or analysis. But I am fully convinced that South Carolina will be better for them, and I pledge to you this: we will continue to fight ObamaCare every step of the way.
RUBIO: Well, here is the distinguishing factor. Under ObamaCare, when you turn Medicaid over to the states what you're saying to them is the money will be available up front for the expansion for a few years, then the money will go away but you get stuck with the unfunded liability. I'm not saying we should do that. I'm actually saying that what we should do is take the existing federal funding that we use for some of these programs, and we're still working through which ones those should be, collapse them in to one central federal agency that would then transfer that money to fund innovative state programs that address the same issues. But it would be funded, it wouldn't be something where states are told you get the money for a few years then we'll back away. And it should be revenue neutral.
O'MALLEY: This complex I.T. challenge had ups and downs every step of the way. There were lots of cautionary lights, lots of red lights, but there were also green lights. This was a very complicated endeavor. But the bottom line is that we are more than half way to our enrollment goal now in Maryland.
Q: Are you going to meet your goal?
O'MALLEY: I think we are going to make our goal. Right now, we're at about 180,000 people who we've enrolled. Our goal is 260,000. So that Web site is now functional for most citizens. This is an example of good week/bad week. The Washington Post called our health care reforms, in terms of our Medicaid waiver, the most significant grab-the-bull-by-the-horns in terms of controlling health care costs that has happened in our nation in 50 years. But the Web site, we squibbed the kickoff. But we're making it better.
At the center of his own proposal is allowing citizens below the retirement age to enroll in Medicare, forcing private insurers to compete against the government rate. "As you probably recall, most Democrats were calling for a public option. But what came out of the Senate Finance Committee did not have a public option," Schweitzer says, blaming health insurance lobbyists and their enablers in both parties. "We now have the corporate party and the corporate-lite party."
HUCKABEE: It ought to be a priority. But the priority should have been to deal with the 15% of people who didn't have insurance rather than disrupt the system for the 85% who did and who were largely satisfied with insurance, as much as anybody will ever be satisfied with insurance. What we should have done is something that was comparable to what was done back 1982, Ronald Reagan signed a bill that was called TEFRA, the Tax Equity Family Relief Act. In the Arkansas TEFRA program we took people who had severe developmental disabilities, for example, there's no way a family can afford that. But the only way for them to qualify for Medicaid would be to impoverish the family. Well, that doesn't make sense. So, what we should say is it's going to be reasonable premium, a reasonable deductible, and a reasonable co-pay, then the government would subsidize those people whose medical expenses are extraordinary.
WALKER: I think long-term a much better option for us here in Wisconsin and across the country is to replace it with something market-driven. But for us, we didn't take the Medicaid expansion. We didn't do a state exchange. But long-term we can't go back to the status quo. What we need to do is go to a market-driven position.
But I also wanted to reduce the number of uninsured people in our state. So instead of just simply rejecting the Medicaid expansion, as some governors did, I looked for a way to achieve that goal without putting more people on government health care.
Under our plan, every person in WI who is living in poverty will be covered by Medicaid. We removed the caps Gov. Doyle imposed on the number of participants, while moving some 87,000 people living ABOVE poverty into the private or exchange markets. With our reforms, we are reclaiming Medicaid for those for whom it was intended: the poor.
Bush added, "If the objective is, don't worry about the budget, we'll just finance it the same way we're financing our deficits right now, build a bigger debt, you could see this thing surviving," he said. "But it will have failed what the promises were. It will have failed the American people. And I don't think it will bend the cost curve."
Bush has emerged over the years as a strong proponent of school choice, immigration reform and what he calls "consumer-directed health care." He noted that he underwent knee surgery a month ago and forced himself into the conversation on billing. "The whole experience is opaque," he said. "It's like smoke comes up, you don't know what's really happening, the third party pays."
PAUL: Nearly 90% of them are signing up for Medicaid, free health insurance from the government. My concern is not that we shouldn't help people. I do want to help these people to get insurance. But there is going to be a cost. So I see the positive, but I also see the negative. And the real problem is we're driving everyone out of the individual market. Where there were once hundreds of plans that you could choose from, there's now four government-mandated plans. If your insurance is not as good as them, or even if it's too good, you can't buy it.
Q: If the web site problems are fixed, will ObamaCare work?
PAUL: You know, I think government is inherently inept, because they don't work on a profit motive. Government has to do certain things. But government shouldn't take on new things to do when it's not managing what it has now.
In his three years as governor, he has expanded programs for the mentally ill, fought the nursing home lobby to bring down Medicaid costs
Yet, at the same time Ohio under Mr. Kasich refused to run its own state insurance exchange as encouraged by the health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act. The governor said he did not believe that the law, which mandates that people buy insurance, will work. To the contrary, he said, "It's going to throw people out of work and not control costs."
GRAHAM: I hope we learn from this tactical mistake that they made regarding defunding ObamaCare. We have got a unique opportunity here after this debacle called the shutdown to reenergize the Congress and maybe get better standing.
Q: What about Senator Ted Cruz--has he hurt your party by shutting down on ObamaCare?
GRAHAM: I think the tactical choice that he embraced hurt our party. After this debacle called the shutdown, our party's been hurt. Our brand name is at its lowest ever. ObamaCare actually got a bump in polling. And we got in the way of a disastrous roll-out, so from my point of view, this was a tactical choice that hurt us, but the good news for the Republican Party is that of the debacle is over, if we don't do it again and ObamaCare is a continuing debacle. ObamaCare is a debacle that will go into 2014. The shutdown should be in our rearview mirror as Republicans.
BUSH: Tactically it was a mistake to focus on something that couldn't be achieved. I would argue that allowing ObamaCare to be implemented, two things would happen. One, it would be so dysfunctional if it was implemented faithfully. Or it couldn't be implemented because the government is not capable of doing it. It looks like that, the latter rather than the former, may be happening.
Ted Cruz said, "Let's not agree to a funding resolution unless ObamaCare is defunded." Your message be to Ted Cruz?
BUSH: I think the best way to repeal ObamaCare is to have an alternative. We could do this in a much lower cost with improved quality based on free market principles. And show how ObamaCare, flawed to its core, doesn't work. It might actually be a politically better approach to see the massive dysfunction.
PAUL: I'm willing to compromise. But we're borrowing more than a million dollars every minute. So, we do have to address that. I think the one thing I cannot accept is the Democrats want to exceed the sequester caps, these things that we put into law to restrain spending already. And it's funny, they're all about ObamaCare being the law of the land, but so is the sequester. The sequester is the law of the land, and if we exceed that, it's a real big step in the wrong direction.
Q: The sequester means forced budget cuts that unless there is some agreement on Capitol Hill about spending, they go into place.
PAUL: Yes, and to clarify what the sequester cuts are, they're a cut in the rate of increase of spending, because over ten years, even with the sequester, government will grow. It goes down for a year or two, but over 10 years, it grows.
(VIDEO) BEN CARSON: I have to tell you, ObamaCare is really, I think, the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery. And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way.(END VIDEO)
Sen. ROB PORTMAN: Well, he's a doctor who feels passionately about this issue, obviously.
PAUL: Well, because it's Congress's job to oversee spending. The power of the purse resides with Congress and they fund programs every year. So it's not their obligation once something is law to never change it. So it's a silly argument for Democrats to say, "Oh, the law has been passed. We can't ever change it." Well that's what Congress's job is.
Q: You talk about compromise a lot with regard to ObamaCare. What part of ObamaCare do you like and want to keep?
PAUL: I don't really like any of ObamaCare. But I realize I'm not going to get my way. But we do control a third of the government. People did elect us to fight. I'm supposed to go and fight to make bills either less bad or make them better if possible. So I think it is my job to stand up and provide oversight for legislation. It's precisely what Congress is supposed to be doing. This is Congress's job.
HUNTSMAN: I think the end game, partially is we don't see a government shutdown. You basically see guys who have been able to stand up and talk sanity. But it will be important to see how this is executed throughout the states. You have 17 exchanges that are going to be up and running on Tuesday. We created the first one in the state of Utah. It has about 240 individual policies that can be accessed. 300 small businesses are ready to buy into it. I think it will be a very important experiment this year. Politics aside, we now move into the real world of economics, jobs, and competitiveness. And that means: Does it work or not?
Q: But you can't say, "Politics aside." Many would say, "Look, we want to keep this alive to 2014."
HUNTSMAN: We're going to be beyond politics real soon. And then the real world does take over.
RYAN: All Republicans want to repeal and replace ObamaCare. We're having a debate about the best strategy for achieving that goal. And with the government shutdown, we're talking about discretionary spending, just government agency budgets, but it doesn't affect entitlements. ObamaCare is an entitlement like Medicare and Social Security is, and so the entitlement carries on even under a government shutdown scenario. So it's just not that simple and easy. You know, rather than sort of swinging for the fences and trying to take this entire law out with discretionary spending, I think there are more effective ways of achieving that goal. We think that we can do better by delaying this law. We've already had votes to delay; Democrats have supported us in that. There's going to be a better strategy to actually achieve our goal of ultimately replacing ObamaCare.
RYAN: Well, look, our budget is a vision document, encapsulating what we think is the right way to go-- fundamental tax reform, patient-centered health care replacing ObamaCare, getting our budget balanced. We've been criticized for repealing ObamaCare in our budget. It's not as if we woke up the day after the election and said let's change our principles.
Q: But the votes are simply not there to repeal ObamaCare. And if somehow or another Congress did repeal it, the president would almost certainly veto it, and there are certainly not enough votes for a veto override. So aren't you just kind of wasting time by saying repealing ObamaCare is how you really save money?
RYAN: Two points: #1, that just goes to show that ObamaCare is a massive budget buster. And #2, I really believe it's going to destroy the health care system in America.
RYAN: What we propose is flexible grants that go back to the states. We get rid of the bureaucracy in Washington. We think the ObamaCare expansion of Medicare is reckless. We are pushing 20 million people, into a program that's failing. More and more doctors and hospitals don't even take the program. And we want to reform Medicaid by giving states the ability to customize the Medicaid program.
Q: Can you honestly say by turning Medicaid into a block grant and giving it to the states that you can cut $770 billion out of that program, over the next 10 years, and that's going to have no impact on legitimate recipients?
RYAN: Yes. These are increases that have not come yet. By repealing ObamaCare, and the Medicaid expansions which haven't occurred yet, we are basically preventing an explosion of a program that is already failing. Prevent that growth from going because it's not going to work
The fact is, ObamaCare is expected to cause millions of uninsured Americans to gain health insurance, not lose it. Rubio's office points to a Congressional Budget Office report that said 27 million of the uninsured would have coverage by 2017.
Rubio's claim about some people losing "health insurance they were happy with" references the CBO's estimate that the number with employer-sponsored coverage would decline by 7 million by 2017. That's a net reduction, with some workers gaining coverage, some losing it, and others deciding to obtain other insurance on their own.
But these are estimates for what the insurance landscape will look like in the future. People aren't "now . losing the health insurance they were happy with," as Rubio said. In fact, CBO's estimates show 2 million uninsured Americans gaining coverage this year.
The beauty of Carson's argument exceeds its simplicity, particularly as even economist Paul Krugman now concedes that something like death panels are inevitable if we stay on our current path. Taxpayers, the rich, or charities can contribute extra money to the accounts of the poor (with everyone's account seeded at birth), but at the same time, Carson says, the poor will "have some control over their own health care. And very quickly they're going to learn how to be responsible."
And also, for the people who were indigent who don't have any money we can make contributions to their HSA each month because we already have this huge pot of money. Instead of sending it to some bureaucracy, let's put it in their HSAs. Now they have some control over their own health care.
Today I am calling for a special session to deal with those issues that must be decided quickly if California is to get the Affordable Care Act started by next January. The broader expansion of Medi-Cal that the Act calls for is incredibly complex and will take more time. Working out the right relationship with the counties will test our ingenuity and will not be achieved overnight. Given the costs involved, great prudence should guide every step of the way.
BIDEN: No religious institution, Catholic or otherwise, including any hospital--none has to refer contraception. None has to pay for contraception. None has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.
RYAN: If they agree with you, then why would they keep suing you? It's a distinction without a difference.
OBAMA: The irony is that we've seen this model work really well in Massachusetts, because Gov. Romney set up what is essentially the identical model.
ROMNEY: We didn't put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they're going to receive.
OBAMA: This "unelected" board is a group of health care experts to figure out, How can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall?
ROMNEY: To bring the cost of health care down, we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. We instead need to put insurers, hospitals, doctors on target such that they have an incentive: performance pay, for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down.
OBAMA: This board that we're talking about can't make decisions about what treatments are given. That's explicitly prohibited in the law.
ROMNEY: I sure do. It comes from my experience. The number of small businesses I've gone to that are saying they're dropping insurance because they can't afford it, the cost of health care is just prohibitive. So it's expensive. Second reason, it cuts $716 billion from Medicare to pay for it. I want to put that money back in Medicare for our seniors. Number three, it puts in place an unelected board that's going to tell people ultimately what kind of treatments they can have. Fourth, small businesses were asked, what's been the effect of Obamacare on your hiring plans? And 3/4 of them said it makes us less likely to hire people. I just don't know how the president could have come into office, facing 23 million people out of work, rising unemployment, an economic crisis, and spend his energy and passion for two years fighting for ObamaCare instead of fighting for jobs for the American people. It has killed jobs.
ROMNEY: I like the way we did it in Massachusetts. In my state, we had Republicans and Democrats work together. What you did instead was to push through a plan without a single Republican vote. As a matter of fact, when Massachusetts did something quite extraordinary--elected a Republican senator to stop ObamaCare, you pushed it through anyway. So entirely on a partisan basis, instead of bringing America together and having a discussion on this important topic, you pushed through something that you and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid thought was the best answer and drove it through. What we did in a legislature 87% Democrat, we worked together; 200 legislators in my legislature, only two voted against the plan by the time we were finished. What were some differences? We didn't raise taxes. You've raised them by $1 trillion under ObamaCare.
OBAMA: Governor Romney said this has to be done on a bipartisan basis. [ObamaCare] was a bipartisan idea. In fact, it was a Republican idea. And Governor Romney said "what we did in Massachusetts could be a model for the nation." I agree that the Democratic legislators in Massachusetts might have given some advice to Republicans in Congress about how to cooperate, but the fact of the matter is, we used the same advisers, and they say it's the same plan.
ROMNEY: The right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America. That's the wrong way to go. The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy.
OBAMA: When Governor Romney talks about this "unelected" board that we've created, is a group of health care experts, doctors etc., to figure out, how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall? So what this board does is basically identifies best practices and says, let's use the purchasing power of Medicare and Medicaid to help to institutionalize all these good things that we do.
ROMNEY: In order to bring the cost of health care down, we don't need to have a board of 15 people telling us what kinds of treatments we should have. We instead need an incentive: performance pay, for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down,
OBAMA: This board that we're talking about can't make decisions about what treatments are given. That's explicitly prohibited in the law.
ROMNEY: I sure do. It's expensive. It has killed jobs.
OBAMA: Well, four years ago, it wasn't just that small businesses were seeing costs skyrocket, but it was families who were worried about going bankrupt if they got sick. If they had a pre-existing condition, they might not be able to get coverage at all. If they did have coverage, insurance companies might impose an arbitrary limit. And let me tell you exactly what ObamaCare did. Number one, if you've got health insurance, it doesn't mean a government takeover. You keep your own insurance. You keep your own doctor. But it does say insurance companies can't jerk you around. They can't impose arbitrary lifetime limits. They have to let you keep your kid on your insurance plan until you're 26 years old. And it also says that you're going to have to get rebates if insurance companies are spending more on administrative costs and profits than they are on actual care.
ROMNEY: The right answer is not to have the federal government take over health care and start mandating to the providers across America, telling a patient and a doctor what kind of treatment they can have. That's the wrong way to go.
OBAMA: There's a reason why Governor Romney set up the plan that he did in Massachusetts. It wasn't a government takeover of health care. It was the largest expansion of private insurance. But what it does say is that "insurers, you've got to take everybody."
ROMNEY: The federal government taking over health care for the entire nation and whisking aside the 10th Amendment, which gives states the rights for these kinds of things, is not the course for America to have a stronger, more vibrant economy.
But even through this chaotic back-and-forth, the two candidates owned their distinctively different political views. Cruz again cemented his vow to repeal President Obama's Affordable Care Act, while Sadler said Congress can't afford to take away the benefits the reform has offered to young adults and the elderly.
A: I would repeal all of ObamaCare and replace it with I think the kinds of reforms we really need. Now and then the President says I'm the grandfather of ObamaCare. I don't think he meant that as a compliment, but I'll take it. I'm proud of the fact that in my state, after our plan was put in place, every child has insurance, 98% of adults have insurance, but we didn't have to cut Medicare by $716 billion to do that. We didn't raise taxes on health companies by $500 billion as the President did. And so we crafted a program that worked for our state, and I believe the right course for healthcare reform is to say for each state we're going to give you the Medicaid dollars you've had in the past, plus grow them with inflation, plus 1%, and you as the states are now going to be given targets to move people towards insurance and you craft programs that are right for your state. Some will copy what we did; others will find better solutions.
Ladies and gentlemen, you would be hard pressed to find another group in America that does more to serve the health of women and their babies than the Catholic Church and Catholic Charities. And now, suddenly, we have ObamaCare bureaucrats presuming to dictate how they will do it.
As Governor Romney has said, this mandate is not a threat and insult to one religious group--it is a threat and insult to every religious group. He and I are honored to stand with you--people of faith and concerned citizens--in defense of religious liberty. And I can assure you, when Mitt Romney is elected, we will get to work--on day one--to repeal that mandate and all of ObamaCare.
If we renew the contract, we will get the same deal--with only one difference: In a 2nd term, he will never answer to you again.
In so many ways, starting with ObamaCare, re-electing this president would set in motion things that can never be called back. It would be a choice to give up so many other choices. When all the new mandates of government-run healthcare come down, the last thing the regulators will want to hear is your opinion. When the Obama tax increases start coming, nobody in Washington is going to ask whether you can afford them or not. But we the people need to think ahead, even if our current president will not, to avoid that crisis while there is still time.
ObamaCare comes to more than 2,000 pages of rules, mandates, taxes, fees and fines that have no place in a free country. You know what? The president has declared that the debate over government controlled health care is over. That will come as news to the millions of American who will elect Mitt Romney so we can repeal Obama Care.
An obligation we have to our parents and grandparents is being sacrificed, all to pay for a new entitlement we didn't even ask for. The greatest threat to Medicare is Obama Care and we're going to stop it.
Medicare is a promise and we will honor it. A Romney-Ryan Administration with protect and strengthen Medicare for my mom's generation, for my generation and for my kids and yours.
The leftwing blogs were merciless. Even my wife said--can't you pleeeease count to ten before you speak? So, I've had time now to count to ten and, you know what? I still think it's unconstitutional!
Do you think Justice Scalia and Justice Thomas have changed their minds? I think if James Madison himself--the father of the Constitution--were here today he would agree with me: The whole damn thing is still unconstitutional!
This debate is not new and it's not over. Hamilton and Madison fought from the beginning about how government would be limited by the enumerated powers. Madison was unequivocal. The powers of the federal government are few and defined. The power to tax and spend is restricted by the enumerated powers.
So, how do we fix this travesty of justice? There's only one option left. We have to have a new president!
Unfortunately, the President's new open ended health care entitlement will exacerbate the current problems in health care. His plan has already forced people to lose their current coverage, increased premiums and will take away Medicare Advantage plans from millions of seniors.
Claims that the new entitlement will lower the federal deficit fly in the face of the facts. Adding tens of millions of new beneficiaries, who will be subsidized by the federal government, will drive up health care costs, and fees will force employers to reduce their workforces. We need to fix what is broken in health care without breaking what is working. That's why I voted to repeal this law. We need to replace it with patient centered reforms. I don't believe a bureaucrat should be in charge of your health care decisions--you should be in charge.
As of today, August 1st, whenever insurance plans come up for their annual renewal, the companies will be required to cover key preventive services for women free of charge. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approximately 47 million women nationwide, including over 1.2 million Massachusetts women, are in health plans that must cover these new preventive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance, or deductible.
A month later, shortly before passage of the Affordable Health Care Act, Ryan showed his gratitude toward Obama during a health care summit by assailing the bill to the president's face as "full of gimmicks and smoke and mirrors," ticking off its quantitative errors and then characterizing it with the Frank Luntz-tested phrase "government takeover health care." Obama stared icily at the Budgeteer throughout his harangue.
The Ryan proposal would convert the current Medicare program to a system under which beneficiaries received premium support payments--payments that would be used to help pay the premiums for a private health insurance policy and would grow over time with overall consumer prices. Additionally, the proposal would convert the matching payments that the federal government makes to states for Medicaid costs under current law into block grants of fixed dollar amounts beginning in 2013, and [would repeal ObamaCare]. Under the Ryan proposal, mandatory spending for health care would be about 6% of GDP in 2030 and about 5% in 2050, CBO estimates.
I have been consistent as a candidate and as governor in my position to Obamacare. The president's approach is wrongheaded and unconstitutional. He's pouring more costs into the system through federal mandates instead of taking costs out of the system through transparency and individual responsibility.
But there is one bright side to the president's plan: It has sparked a conversation about health care that is badly needed. Our healthcare problem is real. In South Carolina we have a large Medicaid population, and health care is the main driver of our budget deficit. But our health-care problem is also unique to our state--it's not the same as the health-care challenges in states like MA or NE. Our challenges are mainly poverty and education.
We have good services, but we need to educate people on how to better utilize them and on how to pay more attention to their health.
I told Obama that his health-care plan imposed mandates that South Carolina just couldn't afford. Our annual budget is $5 billion, and we had calculated that his plan would cost us $5 billion over the next 10 years. We expected to see 30% to 40% of our private companies drop their employees' coverage and force their workers into the public system. My question had 2 parts, I told the president. Would he repeal Obamacare? And if not, would he allow South Carolina to opt out of the system?
People in South Carolina were outraged by what they were seeing in Washington. As far as I was concerned, the health-care law was a part of the same DC mentality that had given us the bailouts: Don't fix the problem, just throw it back on the taxpayers and have them pay for it.
I had pledged, as governor, to lead a coalition of governors to fight Obamacare and allow the states to offer real solutions to our health-care crisis. I was dead set against Obamacare, but Sheheen wanted to have it both ways. Pressed on the issue in the debate, he claimed to support some parts of the Obama plan but not others. There were "good and bad" parts of the bill, he insisted.
"Senator, you can't split the cow," I replied. "You can't say you like certain parts of it and not other parts. We're stuck with the whole cow."
Sheheen's answer was petty and insulting, even for him. "We need a governor with the intelligence and the ability to say when things are good and things are bad," he said. He was calling me unintelligent! The crowd got it and booed the cheap shot.
SANTORUM: I supported Arlen Specter because he was going to be the chairman of the Judiciary Committee when two to three Supreme Court nominees were going to be available. And maybe all three were going to be out of the conservative block. Arlen Specter asked me to support him; I said "will you support the president's nominees?" We had a 51/49 majority in the Senate. He said "I'll support the president's nominees as chairman." He saved Justice Thomas. Every nominee Arlen Specter supported, passed; Why? Because it gave Democrats cover to vote for it and it gave Republican moderates cover to vote for it. He gave the moderate Republicans and the conservative Democrats the leeway to then support that nominee. Arlen Specter defended Roberts, defended Alito. We have a 5/4 majority on the court, and I did the right thing for our country.
[In the 2012 election] Americans deserve a choice--a choice between two dramatically different visions for our country's future. As conservatives, we owe Americans that choice. Look, I know there are people who are terrified at the prospect of an election with real alternative visions at stake: "Just oppose--we can win that way. Don't propose bold ideas--that's too risky." I'll admit, the easy way is always tempting. But my friends, if that's all we stand for, then what are we doing at here CPAC?
It will not be enough to repeal the President's disastrous health-care law. We must solve the problem in health care by curbing out-of-control costs that erode paychecks for working families and push quality coverage out of reach for millions of Americans.
A: You've got to have the facts on your side. When Obama runs ads saying you are throwing the elderly over the cliff, I will say shame on you Mr. President; you are the only president in history to cut Medicare by $500 billion. And why did you cut it? To pay for Obamacare that we don't want and we can't afford.
THE FACTS: That's only half true. About half of the more than 30 million uninsured Americans expected to gain coverage through the health care law will be enrolled in a government program. Medicaid, the federal-state program for low-income people, will be expanded starting in 2014 to cover childless adults living near the poverty line.
The other half will be enrolled in private health plans through new state-based insurance markets. But many of them will be receiving federal subsidies to make their premiums more affordable. And that's a government program, too.
Starting in 2014 most Americans will be required to carry health coverage, either through an employer, by buying their own plan, or through a government program.
GINGRICH: In 1993, in fighting HillaryCare, virtually every conservative saw the mandate as a less-dangerous future than what Hillary was trying to do. After HillaryCare disappeared it became more and more obvious that mandates have all sorts of problems built into them. People gradually tried to find other techniques. I frankly was floundering, trying to find a way to make sure that people who could afford it were paying their hospital bills while still leaving an out so libertarians to not buy insurance. And that's what we're wrestling with. It's now clear that the mandate, I think, is clearly unconstitutional. But, it started as a conservative effort to stop HillaryCare in the 1990s.
PERRY: [Romney] has been for the individual mandate. I'm stunned, Mitt, that you said you wished you could've talked to Obama and said "You're going down the wrong path," because that is exactly the path that you've taken in Massachusetts. [One] study said there've been over $8 billion of additional cost. I wish you could have had the conversation with the people of Massachusetts a long time before that phone call, because the fact of the matter is, you're for individual mandate. And you can talk about "I'm going to repeal ObamaCare." But the record is very clear. You were for individual mandates. And that is the problem. And the question is then, "Who can look Obama in the eye, and say, 'ObamaCare is an abomination for this country,'?" And I'm going to do that. And I can take that fight to him and win that fight.
ROMNEY: If the people of Massachusetts don't like our plan, they can get rid of it. Individuals under the 10th Amendment have the power to craft their own solutions. I'm absolutely adamantly opposed to ObamaCare. It's a 2,000-page bill that takes over health care. It is wrong for health care. It's unconstitutional.
PERRY: I read your first book and it said that your mandate in Massachusetts should be the model for the country. It came out of the reprint of the book. But, I'm just sayin', you were for individual mandates.
ROMNEY: You've raised that before, Rick. And you're simply wrong.
PERRY: It was true then. It's true now.
ROMNEY: Rick, I'll tell you what. $10,000 bet?
PERRY: I'm not in the betting business. I'll show you the book.
ROMNEY: I wrote the book. Chapter seven is called The Massachusetts Model. I have not said anything about our plan being a national model imposed on the nation.
Obamacare is a heat-seeking missile that will destroy jobs & small businesses; it will explode health-care costs; and it will lead to health care that is far less innovative than it is today. Every argument that you'd make against socialism you can make against socialized health care, and any candidate who isn't 100% committed to scrapping Obamacare is not someone America should elect president. Repealing Obamacare may be one of the most important and consequential actions our next president takes.
One way to infuse more competition into the market is to let citizens purchase health-care plans across state lines.
This could be easily accomplished if Congress got some guts and did the right thing. The U.S. Constitution gives Congress control over interstate commerce. But for whatever reason, the Congress has never exercised this power regarding health insurance. They need to.
GINGRICH: Go to Newt.org for the proposed 21st Century Contract with America. The first step is to repeal Obamacare. [Then] block grant Medicaid. And block grant all remaining welfare programs. Give the states the power to deal with the poor using innovation and money savings. I do not believe you solve problems under the Left's policy of people being helpless. We need to rethink Medicaid much the way we rethought welfare reform. Governor Bush in Florida had a program where people who took care of themselves and didn't go to the emergency room got a Christmas bonus. To the shock of academics, poor people were aware of money and strived to get that bonus by not abusing the emergency rooms. If you had the ability to triage and send people to minute clinics, then the hospital wouldn't charge emergency room rates. We have to start distinguishing between the taxpayer who is concerned with charitable care and taxpayers who are suckers and are being exploited.
HUNTSMAN: It's disingenuous to just say that you can waive it all the way. The mandate will be in place. The IRS is already planning on 19,500 new employees to administer that mandate. That will stay, and that's the ruinous part of ObamaCare. Mitt, your plan is not going to do anything.
ROMNEY: I said I'd find a way to repeal it. Did you miss that?
HUNTSMAN: It doesn't repeal the mandate.
SANTORUM: Through reconciliation you can repeal the taxes, you can repeal the spending, and therefore the mandate has no teeth because there's no tax penalty if you don't enforce.
By the time the true cost of his health-care reform bill had already become clear, it had triggered the official, ugly end to his campaign vision of accord and bipartisanship. The same president who insisted during his speech on election night that the country "resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long," now found himself at the center of a political climate that he described with the same word. "It's poisonous," he said.
All his talk of bipartisanship had yielded few results, with not one Republican voting for his budget or his stimulus package, and only one Republican voting for his health-care bill.
ROMNEY: Rick, you're absolutely right. On day one, granting a waiver to all 50 states doesn't stop in its tracks entirely ObamaCare. That's why I also say we have to repeal ObamaCare, and I will do that on day two with a reconciliation bill, because, as you know, it was passed by reconciliation, 51 votes. We can get rid of it with 51 votes. We have to get rid of ObamaCare and return to the states the responsibility [for healthcare]. We all agree about repeal and replace. I put together a plan that says what I'm going to replace it with: to solve the problem of health care, to get it to work like a market.
Schweitzer would like to create a state-run system that borrows from the program used in Saskatchewan. He said the Canadian province controls cost by negotiating drug prices and limiting non-emergency procedures such as MRIs. Schweitzer said the province's demographics and economy are similar to Montana in several ways, yet its residents live longer while spending far less on health care.
During the health care debate two years ago, only the most liberal lawmakers were calling for some form of the doomed proposals for "Medicare for all." But Schweitzer continues to argue that a program like that makes much more sense than the one signed into law by President Barack Obama. The governor told a regional director of the Department of Health and Human Services that Congress has designed a "pack of crap" that gives away far too much to the pharmaceutical industry.
Schweitzer said Montanans with private insurance could drop that coverage if they choose and buy into the state-run plan at a cheaper rate. He envisioned a system that would cover, with copays for service, all the uninsured in Montana.
HUNTSMAN: We are fundamentally approaching health care reform the wrong way. The $1 trillion bomb means that, over 10 years, ObamaCare is creating such uncertainty in the marketplace that businesses aren't willing to hire, they're not willing to deploy capital into the marketplace. It everyone it has gummed up our system. So what do we do? I say, let the states experiment and find breakthroughs in how we address health care reform. All I want to do is do the kind of thing we did in the state of Utah. We don't have affordable insurance policies today. We got one in Utah: a stripped down bare bones catastrophic coverage policy that young people can finally afford. And then you can start whittling down the high percentage of the people who are uninsured in this country because they have an affordable policy.
A: Americans want a leader who's got a proven record of job creation. 1) we get rid of Obamacare. 2) we pull back all of those regulations that are job-killing today, whether it's Dodd-Frank or whether it's the EPA. And then 3) we sit with Congress and we lower those corporate tax rates, we lower those personal tax rates, and then we put our plan to make America energy independent, and that is the way you get America working again
A: This is a human tragedy playing out, with 15 million unemployed, so many million beyond who are so dispirited, they've absolutely given up. I would drop three things on the doorstep of Congress to change and turn the situation around: 1) my tax reform package, endorsed by the Wall Street Journal; 2) serious regulatory reform, Dodd-Frank, Obamacare repealed; 3) energy independence. Converting to natural gas is a 500,000 job creator.
Q: [to Perry]: Can a state like Massachusetts go ahead and pass health care reform, including mandates? Is that a good idea, if Massachusetts wants to do it?
PERRY: Well, that's what Gov. Romney wanted to do, so that's fine. But the fact of the matter is, that was the plan that President Obama has said himself was the model for Obamacare. And I think any of us who know that that piece of legislation will draw a line between the doctor/patient relationship, that will cost untold billions of dollars, is not right for this country. And frankly, I don't think it was right for Massachusetts when you look at what it's costing the people of Massachusetts today. But at the end of the day, that was their call. So, from a just purely states get to decide what they want to do, I agree with that. And in the state of Texas, we don't think that's the way we want to go.
ROMNEY: Absolutely. I'm not running for governor. I'm running for president. And if I'm president, on day one I'll direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It's a problem that's bad law, it's not constitutional. I'll get rid of it.
Q: [to Perry]: Can a state like Massachusetts go ahead and pass health care reform, including mandates? Is that a good idea, if Massachusetts wants to do it?
PERRY: Well, that's what Gov. Romney wanted to do, so that's fine. But the fact of the matter is, that was the plan that President Obama has said himself was the model for Obamacare. I don't think it was right for Massachusetts when you look at what it's costing the people of Massachusetts today.
ROMNEY: If you think what we did in Massachusetts and what Pres. Obama did are the same, boy, take a closer look: he raised taxes $500 billion; we didn't raise taxes.
CAIN: First, repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Secondly, [market reforms]: deductibility of health insurance premiums; loser-pay laws; and association health plans.
ROMNEY: Herman Cain is right, and let's get back to getting the cost of health care down. The reason health care is so expensive is not just because of insurance, it's because of the cost of providing care. And one reason for that is the person who receives care in America generally doesn't care how much it costs, because once they've paid their deductible, it's free. And the provider, the more they do, the more they get paid. And so what we have to do is make sure that individuals have a concern and care about how much something costs. And for that to happen, health savings accounts. Give people a stake in what the cost of insurance is going to be, what the cost of it is going to be. Co-insurance, where people pay a share of the bill, that makes a difference.
ROMNEY: First, I'd be careful about trusting what President Obama says as to what the source was of his plan, number one. But number two, if you think wha we did in Massachusetts and what President Obama did are the same, boy, take a closer look, because:
ROMNEY: Our plan covered 8% of the people, the uninsured. ObamaCare is taking over 100% of the people.
Q: [to Perry]: Massachusetts has nearly universal health insurance. It's first in the country. In Texas, about a quarter of the people don't have health insurance. That's 50th out of 50. It's pretty hard to defend dead last.
PERRY: Well, I'll tell you what the people in the state of Texas don't want: They don't want a health car plan like what Gov. Romney put in place in Massachusetts. What they would like to see is the federal government get out of their business. For instance, Medicaid needs to be block-granted back to the states so that innovation will come up with the best ways to deliver health care. I'll promise you, we'll deliver more health care to more people cheaper than what the federal government is mandating today with their strings attached, here's how you do it, one-size-fits-all effort out of Washington, D.C.
PERRY: If we can get the federal government out of our business in the states when it comes to health care, we'll come up with ways to deliver more health care to more people cheaper than what the federa government is mandating today. That's got to stop. And I'll promise you: On day one, as the president, that executive order will be signed and Obamacare will be wiped out as much as it can be.
Q: Why are so many people in Texas uninsured?
PERRY: We would not have that many people uninsured in Texas if you didn't have the federal government. We've had requests in for years to have that type of flexibility where we could have menus, where we could have co-pays, and the federal government refuses t give us that flexibility. We know for a fact that, given that freedom, the states can do a better job of delivering health care. And you'd see substantially more people not just in Texas, but all across the country have access to better health care.
ROMNEY: One thing I'd do on day one if I'm elected president is direct my secretary of health and human services to put out an executive order granting a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states. It is bad law, it will not work, and I'll get that done on day one. Now, what we faced in our state is different than what other states face. In our state, our plan covered 8% of the people, the uninsured. One thing I know, and that is that what Pres. Obama put in place is not going to work. It's massively expensive. His plan is taking over 100% of the people, and the American people don't like it and should vote it down.
A: Yes, if it's possible. I would do the same for [President Bush's Medicare] prescription [drug subsidies]. Two parties can take responsibility for where we're at right now.
PAWLENTY: Obamacare was patterned after Mitt's plan. And for Mitt or anyone else to say that there aren't substantial similarities or they're not essentially the same plan, it just isn't credible.
ROMNEY: 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. We put together a plan that was right for Massachusetts. The president took the power of the people & the states away from them and put in place a one-size-fits-all plan. It's bad law. It's bad constitutional law. It's bad medicine. And if I'm president, on my first day, I'll direct the secretary of HHS to grant a waiver from Obamacare to all 50 states
A: You're asking me, what do we think we should do about Obamacare? And the answer is, I think you have to repeal Obamacare, and I will, and I'll put in place a plan that allows states to craft their own programs to make those programs work.
Q: I'm asking you where you find that authority in the Constitution.
A: Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. And the Massachusetts constitution allows states, for instance, to say that our kids have to go to school. It has that power. We said, look, we're finding people that can afford health insurance, that are going to the hospital and getting the state to pay for them--people who are free riders. We said, you know what? We're going to insist that those people who can afford to pay for themselves do so. That was our conclusion
A: Refuse to spend the money to implement Obamacare. I would freeze all Obama regulations in process and overturn any antibusiness executive order. I would tell the businesses around the world America is open for business and you have a president who wants you here!
A: To suspend all spending on the implementation of Obamacare. Thank you for this opportunity & for fighting for Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness. I wish the other candidates were here. Please join the fight to save our country at ricksantorum.com
A: My Jobs and Prosperity Plan: No tax increase, 100% expensing, reduce business tax to 12.5%, eliminate cap gains & death tax; audit & reform the Federal Reserve; repeal Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes Oxley, Community Reinvestment Act; break up Freddie and Fannie; Repeal & replace Obamacare and fully develop American energy. These would all create jobs by REDUCING government.
Johnson: Medicaid and Medicare and reforming Social Security.
Bachmann: Obamacare, the largest entitlement and spending program in our country's history.
Gingrich: Also, fraud in Medicaid and Medicare are rampant. We should stop paying the crooks.
Cain: I would focus on major entitlement reform. This would focus on programs similar to Social Security.
SANTORUM: I think we need a president who's optimistic, who has a pro-growth agenda. I'm not going to comment on 5% or 4%. What we need is an economy that's unshackled. And what's happened in this administration is that they have passed oppressive policy and oppressive regulation--Obamacare being first and foremost. Throw on top of that what this president's done on energy. The reason we're seeing this second dip is because of energy prices, and this president has put a stop sign again--against oil drilling, against any kind of exploration offshore or in Alaska, and that is depressing. We need to drill. We need to create energy jobs, just like we're doing, by the way, in Pennsylvania, where we're drilling 3,000 wells this year for gas, and gas prices are down--natural gas prices are down as a result.
ROMNEY: If I'm elected president, I will repeal Obamacare. And also, on my first day in office, I will grant a waiver to all 50 states from Obamacare. Now, there's some similarities and there are some big differences. Obamacare spends a trillion dollars. If it were perfect--and it's not perfect, it's terrible--we can't afford more federal spending. Secondly, it raises $500 billion in taxes. We didn't raise taxes in Massachusetts. Third, Obamacare takes $500 billion out of Medicare and funds Obamacare. We, of course, didn't do that. And, finally, ours was a state plan, a state solution, and if people don't like it in our state, they can change it. That's the nature of why states are the right place for this type of responsibility. And that's why I introduced a plan to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a state-centric program.
PAWLENTY: I cited Obama's own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed Obamacare.
Q: You chose those words, "Obamneycare," on "Fox News Sunday;" why is it not "Obamneycare" with Romney right here?
PAWLENTY: Using the term "Obamneycare" was a reflection of the president's comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan.
ROMNEY: My guess is the president is going to eat those words and wish he hadn't put them out there. And I can't wait to debate him & say, Mr. President, if, in fact, you did look at what we did in Massachusetts, why didn't you give me a call and ask what worked & what didn't? And I would have told you, Mr. President, that wha you're doing will not work. It's a huge power grab by the federal government. It's going to be massively expensive, raising taxes, cutting Medicare. It's wrong for America. And that's why there's an outpouring across the nation to say no to Obamacare.
I sincerely hope our principled senators, regardless of party, will toss out that trainwreck of a plan or its mandates will cripple our healthcare system and its price tag will bust our budget.
Our Medicaid population and accompanying financial burden are growing as we speak and, in 2014, ObamaCare will cause them to explode. Right now, this Washington-centric approach to healthcare has a whole lot of states on a collision course with bankruptcy.
Instead of oppressive mandates, we need solutions like block grants and the freedom to improve health care delivery with innovation, flexibility and local input. You and I believe, and at least two federal courts have confirmed that it's unconstitutional and wrong for the government to force someone to buy health insurance.
They scoffed at us when we said it wasn't constitutional. This Supreme Court case that will be more, about much more than health care. It's going to be about whether or not we believe that our government should be restrained by the Constitution. I think for 60 or 70 years we've been gradually going down this road of becoming more of a majoritarian rule, a democracy. Jefferson said democracy would be nothing more than a mob rule. Our Founding Fathers knew the difference between a republic and a democracy.
Our understanding of the Commerce Clause has become so broad that I often will say, if my shoes were made in Tennessee, they'll regulate my walking in Kentucky.
In his CPAC speech, Trump sounded many themes popular with Republican conservatives. "I am pro-life," he said. "I am against gun control."
And in one of his biggest applause lines, Trump vowed to end the nation's health care law: "I will fight to end Obamacare and replace it with something that makes sense for
Instead of oppressive mandates, we need solutions like block grants, and the freedom to improve health care delivery, with innovation, flexibility and local input from leaders like Senator Jane Nelson. We most definitely do not need Washington encroaching even further on our individual liberties. I hope you'll support Representative Creighton's legislation stating the simple truth-- upheld by at least two federal courts, that it's unconstitutional & wrong for the government to force someone to buy health insurance. In this and other areas of overreach, we must be united in sending one clear and simple message to Washington: "Enough.
Still, the bill was passed and the damage has been done. In the end, this unsustainable bill jeopardizes the very thing it was supposed to fix: our health care system. Somewhere along the way we forgot that health care reform is about doctors & patients, not the IRS & politicians. Instead of helping doctors with tort reform, this bill has made primary care physicians think about getting out of medicine. It was supposed to make health care more affordable, but our premiums will continue to go up.
Our ability as Americans to have access to the best health care in the world--and our right to make our own personal health care decisions--literally hangs in the balance as this administration and Democrats on the Hill consolidate power and insert the long tentacles of Washington into every hospital and doctor's office in America. Because the premise of Obamacare is that our health is not our responsibility but the public's.
At its core, Obamacare represents the closest this country has ever come to outright socialism.
Obamacare mandates that Americans must go out and buy government-approved health insurance. I defy anyone to show me the clause in the Constitution that gives Washington the authority to do this
Now, some Republicans seem to be hung up on the notion that we must be "for" something and must indicate so by saying that we will "repeal and replace" the legislation. That is such inside-the-Beltway nonsense and only confuses the issues for voters.
Obamacare mandates that the American people must go out and buy government-approved health insurance in the private market. I defy anyone to show me the clause in the Constitution that gives Washington the authority to do this.
PAUL: It's incredibly foolhardy to have a trillion-dollar stimulus and then another trillion dollars into Obamacare. The thing about government also is they notoriously underestimate the cost of things. What the Democrats tell us will be a trillion- dollar health care could turn into a $3 trillion nightmare, a drag on the economy. It's already causing unemployment in Kentucky. My health insurance went up 15 percent since Obamacare was passed. What is going to happen is it's going to hurt the economy and hurt jobs in Kentucky.
PAUL: We had 45 million people nationwide that were not receiving or didn't have health insurance. A third of them were in the country illegally and were illegal aliens. And I don't think we should be giving illegal aliens health insurance.
Q: No, that's not true. Illegal aliens are not covered by "Obamacare."
PAUL: I know, but it's illegal to ask them if they're illegal, so it's sort of a Catch-22. The Republicans kept introducing an amendment to Obamacare to say, "You can ask if they're illegal aliens," and the Democrats kept shooting it down, saying, "No, you can't ask whether they're here legally or illegally."
In the Senate, that meant employing the "nuclear option". This process known as budget reconciliation, requires only a simple majority of 51 votes to pass a bill. It had never been used--never--to push through a $1,000,000,000,000 expansion of government and to seize control of one-sixth of the economy. In the House, a process called "deem and pass" was essentially the same thing.
The ugly health-care debacle finally came to an end with final passage of the overhaul in the House on March 21, 2010. 219 House Democrats voted for the bill, 34 opposed it. No Republican, in the House or the Senate, voted for the bill. For the first time since before the Civil War, the minority party was so completely excluded from the shaping of major reform legislation that it voted unanimously against the final bill.
A: I believe we need to directly address the uncertainty in the market caused by policies coming from Washington. We need to permanently extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, repeal Obamacare, halt regulations that hurt job creation and promote fair and free trade.
Whether to pursue major health care reform in the first year had been a furious topic of debate going back to the transition. Rahm believed that pushing something too big on health care in 2009 was a mistake.
Joe Biden was on Rahm's side. He said during the transition that the Americans he and Obama had met on the campaign trail would understand if health care reform had to be delayed because the government was busy avoiding a depression. "They'll give you a pass on this one," he told the president. Anyone who knew Congress understood that getting a bipartisan bill would be difficult amid so much economic wreckage.
Whether to pursue major health care reform in the first year had been a furious topic of debate going back to the transition. Rahm believed that pushing something too big on health care in 2009 was a mistake.
Joe Biden was on Rahm's side. He said during the transition that the Americans he and Obama had met on the campaign trail would understand if health care reform had to be delayed because the government was busy avoiding a depression. "They'll give you a pass on this one," he told the president. Anyone who knew Congress understood that getting a bipartisan bill would be difficult amid so much economic wreckage.
Human beings have no standing to ask this question. Only God does. But Obamacare preempts divine authority, and arrogates to men and women the responsibility for deciding when life is worth preserving and when it is not.
To a certain extent, all doctors and all families have always faced this excruciating decision. Now, Obama is demanding that it be decided by a calculation of Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs), in which physicians, with bureaucrats peering over their shoulders and cost accounting peering over theirs, must equate life with money and come up with an answer.
I cannot stop thinking about a world in which more than 1/3 of the population lacks the medical attention and medicines essential to ensuring its health.
Obama said ObamaCare would not add to the deficit, would bend the cost curve down, and would reduce premiums, while the evidence shows just the opposite. Obama said that under his plan people could keep the insurance they had. Independent groups have shown this claim is simply false. At one point, President Obama was even so brash as to claim his plan would not cut Medicare benefits--even though the White House's own fact sheet said at the time that two-thirds of health-care reform would be paid for by $622 billion in Medicare and Medicaid cuts. The deceptions have badly injured his credibility.
A: Have you ever gone to HHS? Have you gone to CMS, the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid? It's scary. That's going to be the marketplace for health care if Democrats have their way. McCain had a fantastic health-care proposal that he had a hard time explaining, that said that basically you should empower people, individuals, to make choices, & they should be rewarded when they make choices that improve health-care outcomes. Under Obama, we're going to create a system that's not focused on quality; it's focused on access to care. You end up insuring fewer people the more government expands its insurance. People drop out of the private market. For every person the government takes on the rolls, there's an equal number of people leaving the private sector. We're like gerbils running in place. We're not expanding health-care access per se. There are all sorts of technologies that exist that allow us to improve health-care outcomes if we organize our system differently.