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Romney Rebuffs Santorum on Health Care: 'It's Not Worth Getting Angry About

"I make enough mistakes in what I said not for you to add more mistakes to what I said.”

Taking an opportunity to slam Mitt Romney over Romneycare during CNN's GOP debate, Rick Santorum painted the former House Speaker and Romney with the same brush when it comes to health care.

"This is the top-down model that both of these gentlemen say they're now against but they've been for," Santorum started.

After Romney described his history of health reform and vowed to repeal Obamacare, Santorum fired back, noting that Romney said “government-run top down medicine is working well in Massachusetts and he supports it.”

“That’s not what I said,” Romney replied.

“Think about what that means going up against Barack Obama, who you are going to claim, ‘well, it doesn’t work and we should repeal,’” Santorum said. “He’s going to say, ‘Wait a minute, governor. You said it works well in Massachusetts.’ Folks — we can’t give this issue away in this election. It is about fundamental freedom.”

Romney responded, “Rick, I make enough mistakes in what I said not for you to add more mistakes to what I said,” he began. “I didn’t say I’m in favor of top down government-run health care."

Romney added, "If you don’t want to buy insurance, then you have to help pay for the cost of the state picking up your bill because under federal law if someone doesn’t have insurance, then we have to care for them in the hospitals, give them free care. We said no more free riders. We are insisting on personal responsibility.”

Asked to clarify if Massachusetts residents had been required to buy health care, Romney responded, “Everyone has an requirement to either buy insurance or pay the state for the cost of providing them free care.”

“First of all, it’s not worth getting angry about,” Romney said. “Secondly, 98% of the people have insurance. And so the idea that more people are free riding the system is simply impossible.”

Santorum, at this point, looked bewildered by Romney's comment.

“Your mandate is no different than Barack Obama’s mandate,” the former Pennsylvania senator said. “It is the same mandate. You take over 100%, just like he takes over 100%, requires the mandate. The same fines that you put in place in Massachusetts are fines that he puts in place in the federal level.”

One last thing…
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