Huntsman, Pawlenty Also Toyed With Healthcare as Govs

Monday, 11 Jul 2011 03:03 PM

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Mitt Romney is not the only member of the Republican presidential field vulnerable on the issue of healthcare reform. Although the former Massachusetts governor may be saddled with Romneycare, both Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty flirted with similar reforms while serving as governors of Utah and Minnesota, The Washington Post reported.

Although the two both ended up settling for reforms far more modest than Romney’s, which included a mandate that people get health insurance and the setting up a state exchange where they could buy it, they both considered it, the Post reported.

A Utah task force recommended a state exchange in which people could buy insurance, along with an individual mandate for insurance. “I think if you’re going to get it done and get it done right, [a] mandate has to be part of it in some way, shape or form,” Huntsman said in a 2007 interview for a documentary, according to the Post.

The legislation that eventually passed in 2008 did not require people to get coverage, and the exchange was available only to employees of small businesses that chose to take part. Huntsman says the decision to reject the mandate was his idea, but people in both parties in Utah said it failed because it wasn’t going to advance in the Legislature, the Post reported.

Pawlenty faced a different scenario in Minnesota, where he worked with a Democratic Legislature. Nonetheless, after his re-election in 2006, he referred to an individual mandate as “potentially helpful” and a “worthy goal and one that we’re intrigued by and I think at least open to,” the Post reported.

In 2008, a task force that Pawlenty helped form came back with a list of healthcare reforms that included a state exchange, an individual mandate, and subsidies for the poor. The legislation that eventually passed did not include a mandate or an exchange, and by then, Pawlenty had turned against the nation healthcare reform law, the Post reported.


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