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Santorum: People Should Pay Their Own Medical Bills Santorum: People Should Pay Their Own Medical Bills

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Santorum: People Should Pay Their Own Medical Bills

Presidential candidate says insurance system isn’t working, suggests consumers pay up except for “unanticipated costs.”

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum on the campaign trail last week.(Chet Susslin)

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said on Wednesday that the health insurance system isn’t working and endorsed replacing it with a pay-as-you-go model that would require people to handle their medical bills out of pocket, except for catastrophic, “unanticipated” costs.

Campaigning in Tioga, N.D., the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania compared the current health insurance system to automobile insurance, suggesting that the latter works because consumers make claims only when they have car accidents, not when they incur routine expenses like an oil change. Health insurance, he said, “isn’t to pay all of your bills.”

 

“How many people turn in your oil changes to your insurance company? Nobody,” Santorum said. “How many people, if you had a $500-deductible insurance policy got in a little accident and it cost $700 to repair your car, how many people would turn in the $700 claim? Nobody. Why? Because your insurance premium will go up, right?

“Then why do you turn your doctor bill in? Why do your turn your blood work in? Why do you turn your X-rays in and then say, ‘Why are my insurance premiums going up?’ Because health insurance isn’t insurance anymore. You’re paying the insurance company to pay your bills, and then you’re wondering why it cost so much. We need to get the insurance company out of paying bills and back into insuring against high-cost health care. Things that are unanticipated expenses, that is what insurance is for -- unanticipated costly expenses. It isn’t to pay all of your bills.”

On another topic, Santorum criticized President Obama for failing to authorize the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the United States, pledging that as president he would sign an executive order to begin building it.

 

 “I understand the frustration you have with a federal government that doesn’t seem to be particularly tuned into your concerns here,” Santorum said, suggesting that the pipeline would create economic wealth in northwest North Dakota. “I think one of the people that sees it that way is the president. There isn’t really any other reason I can possibly fathom why (he) wouldn’t authorize a pipeline (to carry) this incredibly valuable sweet crude to the refineries that are in desperate need of it.”

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