Now is Not the Time for "Obama-Lite"

This election, the most important of our generation, is about ideas and core concepts about the role that government should play in individuals’ lives.  The Liberal-Left has and will continue to expand the size and scope of the federal government, insisting that the government has the authority to dictate personal health decisions. There is very little that the modern liberal Democrat believes is off-limits for the government.

ObamaCare, one of the most expansive federal laws ever written, is offensive to most Americans because of what it signifies.  ObamaCare is not merely bad health care policy; it is a fundamental rejection of many of the founding principles of America.

The Democrats’ new health care law gives the federal government unprecedented authority to intervene in individuals’ lives.  It gives entirely new authorities and regulatory power to Washington bureaucrats.  It levies punitive fines on individuals and businesses that do not comply with the government’s heavy-handed regulations.  For many reasons, ObamaCare is wholly unacceptable public policy.

And yet, one of the contenders in the GOP race, Mitt Romney, is himself an advocate of many aspects of ObamaCare.   As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney redesigned his state’s health care system with a sweeping overhaul commonly referred to as “Romneycare.”  Romneycare shares many of the key provisions of ObamaCare, including an individual mandate, an employer mandate, new taxes, and an increase in taxpayer-subsidized health care.  Not surprisingly, Romneycare’s big-government approach has yielded the nation’s highest health insurance premiums in Massachusetts, as well as some of the longest wait times to see a doctor.

As much as Mitt Romney would like to discuss superficial distinctions between his health care overhaul and the President’s, the reality is that the Obama Administration relied on Romney’s plan as a template and model for ObamaCare.  Even more confusing is that the Governor continues to defend this huge government intrusion as the right thing to do on the “state level.”  However, Gov. Romney’s health care overhaul, with all of its various new taxes, expansion of Medicaid, and intrusive mandates, reveals a great deal about his governing philosophy – and proves, this kind of government intrusion is wrong at any level.

This year’s election ought to be about the contrast between limited-government conservatives who want to provide true reform, and status quo politicians who favor “big-government” solutions and a tighter regulatory state.  Romney, the architect of many big-government policies in his own state, could appropriately be viewed as “Obama Lite” – a disappointing alternative to President Obama.

As one of the original designers of Health Savings Accounts in the early 1990’s, I have been a champion of the free market in health care.   I have always believed that the private sector, unlike the government, is uniquely capable of producing innovative medical solutions and lower costs through competition.  My proposals consistently prioritize the patient-physician relationship and favor giving individuals the power to make their own health care decisions.

I’m running in this election because I know what the stakes are.  I believe Americans, who overwhelmingly disapprove of ObamaCare, deserve an authentic alternative to Obama and the Democrats’ policies.  I stand for freedom, innovation, and consumer choice in order to improve the quality and decrease the cost of health care.  I do not want Americans to experience the record-high health care premiums and waiting times of Massachusetts.  Please stand with me so that we can repeal and replace Obamacare and instead embrace an American, patient-centered health care solution of choice and competition for families and businesses across our country.

Rick Santorum, a former representative and senator from Pennsylvania, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for president.