Pawlenty: Obama Healthcare Proposal 'A Joke'

Friday, 24 Jul 2009 07:49 PM

By Rick Pedraza

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty called President Barack Obama’s proposed plans to reform healthcare “a joke” that will only worsen governmental costs.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Your World with Neil Cavuto,” the two-term Republican said that implementing tax hikes is not the best way to fix the system.

"This whole healthcare proposal by president Obama is really quite a joke on a number of levels," Pawlenty said. "I think he is scamming the American people.”

Pawlenty said that on the payment issue alone, “even if you believe that it is only going to tax people [with incomes] over $1 million –– which I don’t think is true –– it is only going to cover about 25 percent of the total cost of the package."

If you think the rest is going to be paid for by saving waste, fraud, and abuse, Pawlenty added, then he’s got some January tee times for you in northern Minnesota.

Obama is going to try to contain costs in healthcare by expanding programs, eligibility, and government intervention, but Pawlenty said that’s not going to work.

“The cost of this is going to worsen our debt, our deficit, our interest rates and the overall financial burdens on all Americans, not just wealthy Americans,” he explained.

“I think we can defeat this on the merits. It’s such a bad bill. And the American people have figured out that it is a scam. It will fall of its own weight.”

Pawlenty, who has been mentioned as a potential 2012 presidential candidate and will not seek re-election to a third term as governor, warns his Republican colleagues not to make the mistake of turning the healthcare debate into a political referendum on Obama for fear Democrats will rally around the president to prevent him from failing.

“There’s no question we need healthcare reform and there’s good examples at the state level, including Minnesota, on how to do that,” Pawlenty said. “This isn’t a debate about whether we should reform it or not, but a debate about how to best do that.”

The central premise behind Obama’s proposal to lower costs by expanding programs, expanding coverage, expanding eligibility and having the government take parts of the overall healthcare system over is fundamentally flawed, Pawlenty said. It isn’t going to work.

“What they argue is that by insuring people, then they won’t show up uninsured and we’ll have to pay for it. That’s called cost shifting. The uninsured are paid for invisibly through all our premiums right now.

Pawlenty noted Massachusetts as an example of a state that expanded its healthcare coverage. The cost, he said, nearly tripled in just 36 months, and now the state is looking for an additional federal bailout.

“It has not been successful at containing costs,” he said. “In fact, it has nearly quadrupled in costs since [the state] started it.

Recent polling shows Americans are split on Obama’s healthcare proposal. They want healthcare reform, Pawlenty said, but not necessarily for government to take it over.

“To have [Obama] say we’re going to have a government program to compete with the private sector to keep the private sector honest, well, what’s next? Are we going to have a government Target or Wal-Mart to compete in order to keep those retailers honest?”

Gov. Pawlenty on Health Care Reform

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