Under Romneycare, people making up to 300 percent of the poverty level get a subsidy -- i.e., wealth redistributed from others -- to help them pay for their state-government-required insurance plan.
Barack Obama thought this was a good idea. The federal plan he signed in 2010 requires all American adults to purchase health insurance by 2014 and provides that people making up to 400 percent of the poverty level will get a subsidy -- i.e., wealth redistributed from others -- to help them pay for their federal-government-required insurance plan.
As a presidential candidate, Romney has defended his plan and attacked Obama's.
In a debate last month in Ames, Iowa, Chris Wallace of Fox News asked Romney where government got the authority to force individuals to buy goods and services the government wants them to buy.
"Do you think that government at any level has the right to make someone buy a good or service just because they are a U.S. resident?" Wallace asked. "Where do you find that authority -- that mandating authority -- government making an individual buy a good or service in the Constitution?"
Romney first pointed out that if he is elected president, he would repeal Obamacare.
Then he argued that forcing individuals to buy health insurance was justified under the Massachusetts constitution and was the right thing for Massachusetts.
"Where do I find it in the constitution?" Romney said. "Are you familiar with the Massachusetts constitution? I am. And the Massachusetts constitution allows states, for instance, to say that our kids have to go to school. It has that power. The question is, is that a good idea or bad idea? And I understand different people come to different conclusions.
"We said, look, we're finding people that can afford insurance, health insurance, that are going to the hospital and getting the state to pay for them. Taxpayers are picking up hundreds of millions of dollars of costs from people who are free riders.
"We said, you know what? We're going to insist that those people who can afford to pay for themselves do so. We believe in personal responsibility."
But did Massachusetts truly have a serious problem in people deciding not to buy health insurance?
The Henry Kaiser Family Foundation, based on Census Bureau date, estimates the average percentage of uninsured people in each state over two-year periods.
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