Mitt Romney won the first 2012 presidential election debate — with most conservative and even nonpartisan political observers saying Romney made salient points while President Barack Obama appeared bored and uninterested.
From the pro-life perspective, Romney scored points with pro-life voters for making a clear case for repealing Obamacare, the health care law that pro-life advocates have attacked for funding abortions with taxpayer dollars.
“You want it repealed. You want the Affordable Care Act repealed. Why?” moderator Jim Lehrer asked.
“I sure do,” Romney responded.
Well, in part, it comes, again, from my experience. You know, I was in New Hampshire. A woman came to me and she said, look, I can’t afford insurance for myself or my son. I met a couple in Appleton, Wisconsin, and they said, we’re thinking of dropping our insurance, we can’t afford it.
And 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. And — and we’ve got to deal with cost.
And, unfortunately, when — when — when you look at Obamacare, the Congressional Budget Office has said it will cost $2,500 a year more than traditional insurance. So it’s adding to cost. And as a matter of fact, when the president ran for office, he said that, by this year, he would have brought down the cost of insurance for each family by $2,500 a family. Instead, it’s gone up by that amount. So it’s expensive.
Romney also went after the Independent Payment Advisory Board, the health care rationing board that pro-life advocates repeatedly called for repealing because it would limit life-saving medical treatments.
“We didn’t put in place a board that can tell people ultimately what treatments they’re going to receive. We didn’t also do something that I think a number of people across this country recognize, which is put — put people in a position where they’re going to lose the insurance they had and they wanted,” he said.
“So for those reasons, for the tax, for Medicare, for this board, and for people losing their insurance, this is why the American people don’t want Obamacare. It’s why Republicans said, do not do this, and the Republicans had — had the plan. They put a plan out. They put out a plan, a bipartisan plan. It was swept aside,” he said. “I think something this big, this important has to be done on a bipartisan basis. And we have to have a president who can reach across the aisle and fashion important legislation with the input from both parties.
Obama surprised observers by defending the IPAB and its cutting health care services.
“It — when Governor Romney talks about this board, for example, unelected board that we’ve created, what this is, is a group of health care experts, doctors, et cetera, to figure out, how can we reduce the cost of care in the system overall?” he said.
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Romney responded: “But let’s come back to something the president and I agree on, which is the key task we have in health care is to get the cost down so it’s more affordable for families. And then he has as a model for doing that a board of people at the government, an unelected board, appointed board, who are going to decide what kind of treatment you ought to have.”
“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,” he added. “We instead need to put insurance plans, providers, hospitals, doctors on target such that they have an incentive, as you say, performance pay, for doing an excellent job, for keeping costs down, and that’s happening. Innermountain Healthcare does it superbly well, Mayo Clinic is doing it superbly well, Cleveland Clinic, others.”
“But 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,” he concluded. “That’s the wrong way to go. The private market and individual responsibility always work best.”
“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,” he said.