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Santorum Camp Circulates Gingrich Newsletter on Individual Mandate Santorum Camp Circulates Gingrich Newsletter on Individual Mandat... Santorum Camp Circulates Gingrich Newsletter on Individual Mandate Santorum Camp Circulates ...

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / campaign 2012

Santorum Camp Circulates Gingrich Newsletter on Individual Mandate

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich (left) once praised former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's individual mandate for health insurance.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

March 9, 2012

As he goes head-to-head with Newt Gingrich for the same conservative pool of voters in the Deep South, Rick Santorum is circulating information about a newsletter article Gingrich wrote in 2006 praising then-Gov. Mitt Romney and his health care individual mandate in Massachusetts.

Santorum’s campaign on Friday sent around to reporters a statement quoting extensively from the newsletter, which the Gingrich-run Center for Health Transformation published in April 2006. In a section headlined “Newt Notes,” Gingrich gives the now-controversial health plan supported by Romney an unequivocal endorsement. He wrote:

“The most exciting development of the past few weeks is what has been happening up in Massachusetts. The health bill that Governor Romney signed into law this month has tremendous potential to effect major change in the American health system.

 

“We agree entirely with Governor Romney and Massachusetts legislators that our goal should be 100 percent insurance coverage for all Americans. Individuals without coverage often do not receive quality medical attention on par with those who do have insurance. We also believe strongly that personal responsibility is vital to creating a 21st Century Intelligent Health System. Individuals who can afford to purchase health insurance and simply choose not to place an unnecessary burden on a system that is on the verge of collapse; these free-riders undermine the entire health system by placing the onus of responsibility on taxpayers.”

The Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and other news outlets reported on the existence of the newsletter in December 2011 and said that it had been removed from the center’s website. But the Internet archive service WayBackMachine retrieved it and reposted it on the Web.

As a presidential candidate, Gingrich has taken the opposite position on the individual mandate and harshly criticized Romney, his rival in the race for the GOP nomination, for enacting it in Massachusetts. A similar mandate was adopted nationally as part of the Obama administration’s 2010 health care plan, and Gingrich has said he would repeal it if elected.

“I am for the repeal of Obamacare," Gingrich said during the campaign. “And I’m against any effort to impose a federal mandate on anyone, because it is fundamentally wrong and, I believe, unconstitutional.”

Santorum also opposes the individual mandate, which is reviled by conservatives and supporters of the tea party, both of which are expected to have a major impact on Tuesday’s primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.

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