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Let States Insure People: Romney

Health care should be handled on a state-by-state basis — not nationally as President Obama has proposed, Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate told CNBC on Friday.

“The best way to get people insured is to follow a state-by-state model rather than a one-size-fits-all plan,” he said. “Don’t believe that getting everybody insured will automatically bring down the overall cost of health care for everyone.”

Massachusetts implemented its own version of health care reform three years ago, and now the state has near-universal coverage. Unlike many of the Democratic proposals calling for a public option, Massachusetts requires state residents to buy private insurance.

“In our case, we did not raise taxes like the president’s plan, we did not cut Medicare unlike the president’s plan, and we solved the issue on the state side unlike the president’s federal program,” he said.

Since the economic and demographic characteristics of the uninsured vary across states, a single plan doesn’t make much sense, Romney said. He added, the president’s national plan fails to address the issue of lowering ballooning health care costs.

“The president has been disingenuous trying to lay this at the feet of the health insurance companies,” he said. “Nobody believes that health care is expensive in America because of insurance companies. Health care is expensive because we use a lot of health care treatment.”

The right way to deal with health care costs is get the system to act like a market rather than have it controlled by big government, he said.

Although Romney refused to speculate on whether he would run for president again, he was very critical of the current administration, and laid out his series of remedies for the nation, which included curbing rising deficits, dealing with entitlements, ending dependence on foreign oil, fixing schools and lowering health care costs.

And he also criticized President Obama’s apologetic stance during his world tour last year:

“I think the President made an enormous mistake for us internationally by going across the world saying that America was divisive and dismissive; that we were arrogant; that we had no concerns for other nations; that we had dictated other nations,” he said. “He’s wrong, frankly. This has curried favor with the ‘blame America’ crowd, but it has not strengthened our hand with North Korea or Iran or with other hot spots in the world.”