Full Transcript: ABC News Iowa Republican Debate


But-- but my-- (LAUGH) my plan-- was designed for our state, and other states should have the right to create plans that work for them. And if they come up with something better than we did, then we can learn from them. But the idea of a federal government or a federal mandate, as you see with Obamacare, flies in the face of the Constitution, violates the tenth amendment. I think the Supreme Court will strike it down. If they don't, I will.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Speaker Gingrich-- Congresswoman Bachmann pointed out that as-- as late as May of this year, you supported some form of the mandate when everyone else had-- had come out against it. What finally tipped you over and convinced you that it was unconstitutional?

SPEAKER NEWT GINGRICH: Well, I think first of all for the federal government to do it is unconstitutional because it means the Congress-- the Congress, which could compel you to purchase this item, could compel you to purchase any item. And so the question of freedom would be d-- would be missed. And any (MIC NOISE) majority could then decide to make you do virtually anything. I think that's part of why you're seeing a dramatic shift back towards limiting the federal government and towards imposing the tenth amendment as a very serious barrier.

I-- I've been working on health issues since 1974. And I've been t-- and-- and I tried to find a way to break out of where we are, because the fact is the whole third-party payment model, whether public or private, has grown more and more expensive, more and more difficult to sustain. And helped found the Center for Health Transformation that-- for that reason, wrote a book called Saving Lives and Saving Money back in 2002.

We need to fundamentally rethink the entire health system to move back towards a doctor-patient relationship, and back toward something like what Rick Santorum talked about with health savings accounts where people are directly engaged in their own health and in taking care of themselves to a much greater degree than they are in the current insurance system.

DIANE SAWYER: If I can switch to this question, and-- and it is about health care, because a number of people-- in fact, I was just at a pharmacy here-- I-- have a cough. But I was (LAUGH) at the pharmacy here in Iowa, and the pharmacists were talking about a big-- driver of health care costs. And they specifically mentioned habits, unhealthy habits that we all need to learn to be better on at a young age. They talked about obesity, they talked about exercise. If I can ask you, Congressman Paul: Anything government should do on these fronts?

CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL: On-- on medical? Or?

DIANE SAWYER: On these fronts, specifically, of healthy behavior at very young-- ages for-- it's--

CONGRESSMAN RON PAUL: No, essentially not, but they have to be-- a referee. If people are doing things that hurt other people, yes. But if you embark on instituting a society where government protects you from yourself, you're in big trouble, and that's what they're doing. (APPLAUSE)

I think-- I think what we've had here is a demonstration of-- why should we have a candidate that's gonna have to explain themselves? 70% of the people want further explanations on what your positions are. So I think that it is endless. But you talk about the-- the Obamacare using force, but that's all government is, is force.

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