During the GOP debate in Florida on Thursday, an unemployed Floridian in the audience named Lynn asked the candidates what their policies could do to help her get affordable health insurance again. The candidates offered her a host of long-term solutions and big-picture theories in return.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) told her she was the victim of government meddling. "When government gets involved in medicine, you don't [get] better care -- the cost goes up," Paul said. "You're suffering from the consequences of way too much government."
Asked how he'd help Lynn, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was the first to beat the Obamacare horse. "Repeal Obamacare, repeal Dodd-Frank," the former House speaker said, referring to the financial reform bill. "Give her a chance to have a job ... You combine reforming our insurance system and getting the economy growing again, you cure an awful lot. She is not dependent on Barack Obama to take care of her."
Although his health care overhaul in Massachusetts served as a model for the president's, Mitt Romney, too, grabbed at the opportunity to bash "Obamacare" when asked how his policies could help Lynn. "It's bad medicine," he said of the Affordable Care Act. "The president has failed the American people." Meanwhile, as he has before, Romney admitted that his own plan enacted in Massachusetts was "not perfect," though he said most residents approved of it.
As much as Romney tried to distance "Romneycare" from "Obamacare," Rick Santorum clearly relished drawing a line between the two.
"What he just said is top-down government-run medicine is working pretty well in Massachusetts," Santorum said.
Romney's plan, Santorum went on, has "15 items in common with Obamacare ... 1 in 4 people in Massachusetts don't get the care they need. This is the top-down model that both of these gentlemen" -- Romney and Gingrich (who has voiced support for the individual mandate) -- "say they're against but have been for."
"We cannot give the issue of health care away in this election," Santorum added.
Romney, perhaps taken aback by Santorum's passion, responded, "It's not worth getting angry about...."