In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Hmmm... Santorum's Healthcare Pitch Sounds An Awful Lot Like Obamacare For The Elderly

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"I've been campaigning around the state, you know, we should have the same kind of health care that members of Congress have," Santorum said. "Well, that's pretty much what Paul Ryan's plan is. It's a -- the members of Congress have a premium support model. So does every other federal employee."

This is equivocation, whether he's trying to sell it to seniors or to the conservative elite. Santorum has been a strong advocate of Paul Ryan's Medicare plan, but this differs from Ryan's plan in a key way: Ryan's plan caps and limits the growth of insurance subsidies for seniors -- they have to pay more and more over time. The Federal Employees Health Benefit Program -- what members of Congress enjoy -- allows subsidies to grow with the price of insurance.

If he truly supports the original Ryan plan, then he's misleading seniors about how expensive his plan will be for them. If, by contrast, he wants seniors to enjoy the same health benefits as members of Congress, it's still privatization -- but he's basically calling for Obamacare for seniors, while simultaneously trashing Obama's record on health care.

"[H]ere's the fundamental difference between Barack Obama and -- and everybody up here," Santorum said. "It's whether you believe people can be free to make choices or whether you have to make decisions for them. And I believe seniors, just like every other Americans, should be free to make the choices in their health care plan that's best for them."

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com