Romney echoes Santorum: 2-year old ACA 'tramples freedom'

By Tom Sullivan
01:06 PM
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Campaigning in Louisiana on Friday before the primary there, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney sounded a lot like archrival Rick Santorum on healthcare.

Telling voters that President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) tramples freedom and drives up costs, Romney used the second birthday to assault ACA with vows of “repeal and replace,” and is quoted in a Washington Post story as saying the law represents “one more example of a president pursuing his attack on economic and personal liberty.”

[See also: Top lobbyists prep for Supreme Court healthcare decision.]

Rick Santorum on Monday in his Illinois primary concession speech fired similar words at the ACA, then subsequently turned his barrel toward Romney.

“In addition to trampling freedom, in addition to building a dependence on government, as we see government expand and grow, now almost half of the people in the country depend on some form of federal payment to help them make ends meet in America,” Santorum told the crowd. “And if Obamacare is implemented, every single American will depend upon the federal government for something that is critical, their health and their life. Being for limited government, being for solutions that empower people, on the biggest issues of the day whether it’s ObamaCare, RomneyCare, they’re interchangeable.”

Romney’s answer all along and again in Louisiana Friday is to say he would give individual states Medicaid money and alter the tax code in a fashion that incentivizes people to buy health insurance.

Such campaign rhetoric may be welcome in Alaska, the only state to turn down health insurance exchange funding, but the anti-ACA John Graham, director of healthcare studies at the Pacific Research Institute, points out that most uninsured people are low-income so they can’t pay their bills anyway.

“Most high-income people, or even middle-income, have health insurance,” Graham said. “So the people who are causing the problem are eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled and the other ones you can go after for the cost of their care, but you’re not going to get any money anyway.”

[Political Malpractice: They all chant 'ACA repeal' but what could a GOP president actually do?]

In celebration of the ACA’s second birthday and just days before the historic Supreme Court hearing of a 26-state lawsuit against the ACA, meanwhile, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, MD, writes on the Huffington Post that “people all across the country have been directly benefiting from the law. And many aspects of this law aim to reduce health disparities.”

And vice president Joe Biden is expected to address a crowd in Florida, the second of four speeches in which he intends to strike out at Republicans on Medicare.

"Make no mistake," Biden plans to say, according to a USA Today article. "If Republicans in Congress and their amen corner of Romney, Santorum and Gingrich get their hands on the White House, they will end Medicare as we know it."