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Rick Santorum's Health Care Plan In 1994: You Pay

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WASHINGTON -- As the GOP presidential primary has been essentially winnowed to a two-man race, Rick Santorum has ramped up his rhetoric against Mitt Romney on the issue of health care. It has become a constant line of attack for the former Pennsylvania senator.

Santorum could not be starker in his critique of his rival's reforms as governor of Massachusetts. He has tagged Romney a socialist for his health care initiative, a heavily subsidized program mandating that every Massachusetts resident have health insurance. On Monday in Dixon, Ill., Santorum said that mandate had meant Romney had "abandoned freedom."

"Let's just be brutally honest about it: There's one candidate in this race who can never make this race about freedom, because he simply abandoned freedom when he was governor of Massachusetts, and he abandoned it when he promoted Obamacare in 2009," Santorum argued.

But what was Santorum's position on health care reform when he was a lawmaker? He has boasted that he helped fight against President Bill Clinton's reform effort in the mid '90s. While campaigning in his first U.S. Senate run in 1994, then-Rep. Santorum was as relentless on the subject as he is today.

Santorum's main message on how he'd reform health care was simple: You pay.

According to records maintained by his opponent, then-Sen. Harris Wofford (D-Pa.), and obtained by The Huffington Post, Santorum had a stark view of how health insurance should work. The video and audio transcripts of Santorum events produced for the Wofford campaign reveal a candidate who was as concerned about insurance companies' bottom lines as rising health care costs for individuals.

At an event in April 1994 at a high school north of Pittsburgh, Santorum argued that insurance companies shouldn't pay for regular doctor's visits. "When it comes to routine care, when it comes to the ordinary care that we consume as a society, as an individual, why do we have insurance companies paying for routine visits, things that we can budget for, things that we should be able to pay for out of our own pocket?" Santorum asked. "The answer is they shouldn't."

Santorum repeated this idea at an event in October of that year.

"When it comes to routine care, that should be paid for out of pocket," Santorum said. "You should only pay the insurance company for covering things that are unexpected, sort of, you know, catastrophic kinds of things."

Santorum suggested that medical savings accounts be used to cover the out-of-pocket expenses. For those too poor to afford insurance, he advocated for subsidies. In the 1994 Republican senatorial primary, he even appeared to support an individual mandate for health insurance.

Santorum still hangs on to this you-pay philosophy, saying during the recent contraception debate that birth control should not be covered by health insurance at all.

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