Mitch Daniels' Office On Health Care Reform: The Governor Is 'Against The Mandate'

05/19/2011 04:57 pm ET | Updated Jul 19, 2011
  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON -- Indiana Governor Mitch Daniel's office is downplaying, if not fully disregarding, a 2003 story that claims he favored requiring all Americans to purchase health service as a means of achieving universal coverage.

"Governor Daniels is against a mandate," his spokesperson, Jane Jankowski, emailed the Huffington Post on Thursday afternoon."He favors giving every American a tax credit individually so they can purchase insurance that is right for them. He believes nearly all would use it, so coverage would be nearly universal."

Jankowski's comments come hours after the Huffington Post highlighted a clip from Daniels' 2004 gubernatorial run that stated he supported the same type of compulsory insurance that Republicans have deemed an unconstitutional component of President Obama's health care law.

The video provides yet another clear indication that a principle once popular in conservative circles -- the individual mandate -- has now become poisonous.

Daniels has pursued other, less noteworthy policies similar to Obama's approach to health care law, including a tax on cigarettes as a means of generating revenue for health care coverage elsewhere and the expansion of Medicaid to individuals well above the poverty level.

As for the broader components of reform, Jankowski sent over an excerpt from an interview Daniels gave to radio talk show host Michael Smerconish on Thursday:

Michael Smerconish: Governor, when I asked Governor Romney to differentiate between what he had done in Massachusetts to what President Obama is seeking to do nationally, he stressed with me that his was a state initiative. As the chief executive of Indiana, do you believe that establishing universal coverage is the role of either a state or federal government?

Mitch Daniels: I don’t believe in mandates. There’s nothing wrong with trying to protect more people from being ruined by an adverse health effect. We took a very, very different approach here in Indiana, more or less health saving accounts for low income people. That objective is not bad but I don’t think as a matter of either good health care policy or, frankly, our constitutional liberties, that government at any level should be ordering Americans to buy a given product.