Video: Pawlenty, Huntsman considered health-care mandates

posted at 8:24 pm on May 31, 2011 by Allahpundit

Thank Verum Serum for the Huntsman clip. We already knew about his flirtation with a mandate for Utah from HuffPo’s coverage a few weeks ago — the state didn’t end up adopting one, but apparently not for lack of Huntsman’s trying — but a long background piece based on people’s memories is one thing and a snappy two-minute video soundbite is another. Huntsman’s an impressive guy but I can’t answer the question of why, apart from his two years in China, anyone would strongly prefer him to Romney. Go watch Verum Serum’s mock campaign ad for him; he’s at least as RINO-y as Romney is, and per his mandate musings below, he’s even compromised on the single biggest Mitt-killing issue of the campaign. Where does he go from here? Hope New Hampshirites will ignore it and then try to ride a wave of momentum into South Carolina? Really?

As for the Pawlenty clip, I missed it when Ben Smith wrote about it on Friday but Time flagged it this evening. Like Huntsman and unlike Romney, T-Paw never signed a bill enacting any mandate. But then, that’s never been the key litmus test on this issue for conservatives. The test is whether a candidate would recognize the mandate as constitutionally repugnant (at least at the federal level) and an affront to liberty. Accordingly, you’d expect strong anti-mandate language from him and Huntsman — and instead you’re hearing warm, if noncommittal, praise. How are they going to affect high dudgeon about RomneyCare at the debates when Mitt can throw these clips in their faces? And what happens when Romney then turns to the crowd and asks the audience why, if they find health-care mandates so horrible, they’re so protective of Medicare? Under ObamaCare, you at least get to pick your own insurer; under Medicare, you’re stuck with the feds’ crappy plan, which doesn’t kick in until you’re 65, and the premiums are sucked out of your check every week in the form of FICA before you even see the money. Suggested campaign slogan: “Romney 2012: Who are you to judge me, Medicare junkies?”

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Why is this a surprise? The individual mandate is an idea with republican support all the way back to the days of Nixon. It’s really a republican invention… that is until that Kenyian communist took over the white house and the mandate became an evil scheme to take away our FREEDOM!

Tom_Shipley on June 1, 2011 at 8:48 AM

Would that be the same Nixon who supported and regulated wage and price controls? If so, you’ll need a little more support than Nixon before claiming it’s a conservative position. Nixon compromised with the Democrats extensively on virtually every issue except resistance to Communism, and even there he wasted a bunch of time on detente. In fact, it’s a mystery why the left hated Nixon so much. He gave them most of what they wanted consistently.

tom on June 1, 2011 at 10:48 AM

I’m surprised to hear that the Heritage Foundation was willing to mandate health insurance. I don’t know how you square that with their otherwise solid conservative record, because government takeover of healthcare has been a wet dream for the left for a while. At the very best, they were attempting to neuter the arguments for a nationalized health care system by creating an alternative that still left some room for individual choice.

But I still don’t see how you allow the government to mandate people purchase a product. Moving the decision to the state level at least avoids the thorny Constitutional issue, but it’s still a pretty obvious example of government overreach.

I’d take that as a reminder that even a good organization like the Heritage Foundation has some really bad ideas.

tom on June 1, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I just don’t see Pawlenty’s niche in the GOP primary.

He is not the “anti-Romney”. He shares a lot Romney’s policy positions without the fundraising ability, national name recognintion or prior national campaign experience.

He is not the “anti-Palin” for many of the same reasons.

There is a reason why Pawlenty is stuck in low single digits despite having run for president longer than anyone else.

Norwegian on June 1, 2011 at 1:02 PM

If only this was a Presidential “presser”.

Almost anyone would be better than what we have now.

PappyD61 on June 1, 2011 at 1:37 PM

I have a very simple solution. Conservatives hate an imposed mandate, but also hate deadbeats. Here’s the answer. Medicare orders all providers (all doctors and hospitals) to, as a condition of participation, institute collection actions, legal if necessary against anyone who does not pay a bill. This means if you decide to buy a new bass boat instead of health insurance and need your appendix out, you will be sued and your income attached or your property seized. I figure it will take about a year of people seeing deadbeats losing their homes, cars and salaries before they get the message that they need to buy health insurance. You still have the choice. You just have to pay your bills. Problem solved.

flyoverland on June 1, 2011 at 2:35 PM

Of course, why are you harping about Pawlenty being behind in the polls?

Dreadnought on June 1, 2011 at 12:55 AM

Because you folks keep harping on them as the gold standard of electability. Palin’s got lousy numbers we hear; Pawlenty’s are lousier. But Pawlenty’s more electable. Right.

pseudoforce on June 1, 2011 at 2:59 PM

As far as the individual mandate, no, to my knowledge Palin has not supported that.

Dreadnought on June 1, 2011 at 12:43 AM

Period. End of.

pseudoforce on June 1, 2011 at 3:02 PM

There you have it. Romney v. Palin (if she even gets in the race)

scotash on June 1, 2011 at 5:04 PM

That is pure nonsense, pure BS revisonism on your part.

The idea of a health-insurance mandate originated at the Heritage Foundation in 1989

The mandate was not the nexus of conservative opposition, or public opposition in general, to the Hillarycare proposals of 1993-94. The opposition was centered on the managed care proposals, and the micromanaging of the health-care industry in general, that were the centerpiece of the Clinton health-care plan.

Now history is being twisted (mainly by supporters of a certain “candidate”) in order to unfairly disparage rivals.

Dreadnought on May 31, 2011 at 10:59 PM

I’m impressed that you found a proposition from the Heritage Foundation to this effect, but that’s not enough to make it a conservative position. Neither is the suggestion that some Republicans have considered a mandate any real indicator of conservative bona fides for the idea. Some Republicans have been on board for all kinds of progressive notions for many years now. We have a name for such Republicans: RINOs. Nixon even instituted wage and price controls, which were contrary to anything resembling a conservative philosophy of government.

As for the Heritage Foundation study you cite, I note that it was proposed as an alternative to a national health care system as desired by liberals. This makes it, if anything, an attempt at compromise to the notion that the government needs to guarantee health care for all. It’s just not a conservative position.

As the study says,

The fundamental defects of the existing system and the serious flaws in most solutions to the problem of uninsurance has led The Heritage Foundation to propose a national health system based on very different foundations. Developed in detail in a new monograph, A National Health System for America, the Heritage plan aims at achieving for related objectives:

All citizens should be guaranteed universal access to affordable health care.

— The inflationary pressures in the health industry should be brought under control.

Direct and indirect government assistance should be concentrated on those who need it most.

— A reformed system should encourage greater innovation in the delivery of health care.

(Emphasis added is mine)

Does anyone seriously argue that it is a conservative position for the government to “guarantee universal access to healthcare?” and to set up a system to provide government assistance to that end?

I suppose it was an interesting proposal, primarily because it was so unconservative at heart. And it’s certainly true that the mandate they suggested was only part of a scheme including tax credits and incentives. But the central problem is that without an individual mandate, it necessarily collapses. And there is simply no way to argue that this was part of any sort of conservative mainstream.

But go ahead and argue that if you will. I guarantee that Pawlenty will be distancing himself from his earlier statement, because he knows good and well how damaging it is to him.

Still, he can at least say he ultimately rejected it, so I doubt it would make any kind of an attack vector for Romney.

There Goes The Neighborhood on June 1, 2011 at 5:25 PM

Under ObamaCare, you at least get to pick your own insurer; under Medicare, you’re stuck with the feds’ crappy plan, which doesn’t kick in until you’re 65, and the premiums are sucked out of your check every week in the form of FICA before you even see the money.

Anyone believing this has drunk the coolaid. Anyone that has been paying attention knows that they are decieving the public into accepting this as just a minor change in how their insurance works to get the public to accept it. Once that is locked in, the difficulty to keep the choice will become obvious and ultimately leads to the demise of insurance health policies as we have known them and leads to the ultimate goal of a one payer system. As I recall, this was a laughing point of the crafters of the legistlation. Socilist medical care requires that the government must have control over the disbursment of limited government care and make the decision over what will be provided and what will be denied in the interest of the beneifit to society. We have only to look at Britain to understand how that works. Unfortunately we do not have the operatunitiy to take the chunnel over to Europe to recieve the medical care that is denied or delayed over weeks or months.

Franklyn on June 1, 2011 at 6:16 PM