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Romney talks health care

He proposes market-based changes; rival John Edwards disagrees.

Published August 25, 2007


HOLLYWOOD, Fla. - The nation's health care system should be overhauled through plans tailored to individual states, not through a federal government takeover, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday.

As Massachusetts governor, he signed a law aimed at helping people who lacked health insurance. He is trying to take an issue popular among Democrats and put a conservative spin on it.

"A one-size-fits-all national health care system is bound to fail. It ignores the sharp difference between states and it relies on Washington bureaucracy to manage," Romney said. "I don't want the people who ran the Katrina cleanup to manage our health care system."

The government's role is to facilitate changes, not mandate them, Romney said during a speech before the Florida Medical Association.

Reducing costs

Health insurance costs can be reduced by deregulating the insurance market, capping malpractice damages and making sure everyone is insured, Romney said.

"The problem of the uninsured is a problem for all Americans," he said, because those who can pay for health insurance help foot the bill for those who cannot.

Instead of using federal money to reimburse hospitals for treating people without insurance, that money should be used to help low-income people buy insurance at a lower cost, Romney said.

"No more free rides," he said. "Everybody pays what they can afford."

Romney's health care plan was quickly criticized by Democratic rival John Edwards, who said it fails to "take on" the drug and insurance industries and would "make a dysfunctional health care system even worse."

Touting his own universal health care plan at a campaign appearance Friday in Manchester, N.H., Edwards urged voters to look carefully at other candidates' plans.

He estimated his plan would cost $90-billion to $120-billion a year. Employers would be required to cover their workers or pay into a government insurance fund, and workers would get to choose among plans.

Fast Facts:

Giuliani's tax plans

Rudy Giuliani says that as president he plans to kill both the "marriage penalty" and "death tax." In a speech prepared for this morning, Giuliani planned to tell voters he would help them have more control over their money. His campaign has focused on tax cuts and less government. He plans to tell voters they face $3-trillion in tax increases over the next decade unless tax cuts are made permanent. He also plans to advocate for a permanent child tax credit and lower marginal income tax rates.

[Last modified August 25, 2007, 01:10:01]

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