Pawlenty Open to Individual Mandate in 2006

From Politico:

Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty said in a 2006 speech that mandated health insurance was a “potentially helpful” — but incomplete — solution to the problem of the uninsured.

Pawlenty described a Massachusetts-style mandate in his speech as “a worthy goal and one that we’re
intrigued by and I think at least open to,” but suggested that the central health care problem was not forcing people to buy insurance but helping them afford it.

Pawlenty later rejected proposals to implement similar policies in Minnesota but, as Politico notes,  he “certainly never suggested that state mandates are illegal or immoral — only ineffective.” They may also be ineffective, but I cannot take any candidate seriously nor trust one who does not acknowledge the immorality of the individual mandate. Pawlenty’s objection to the mandate was merely in regards to its efficacy:

“If you are poor and don’t have the resources or don’t have the ability to access insurance because there are barriers to that, a mandate by itself is not much of a solution,” Pawlenty said.

“And so, the question then becomes – if you’re going to require insurance — and I think that is a worthy goal and one that we’re intrigued by and I think at least open to, how then do you enable people to access the insurance?” Pawlenty said.

In all likelihood Pawlenty will probably attempt to spin this in the same manner that he did so with his support for cap-and-trade:

Pawlenty backed cap-and-trade when he was governor of Minnesota and agreed to participate in the multistate Midwest Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord.

He also cut a radio ad for the Environmental Defense Fund in 2008 that urged Congress to “get moving” and “cap greenhouse gas pollution now.”

… Pawlenty made his latest of several statements calling that past support a mistake. Pawlenty said he signed a law as governor to explore the state-level emissions-capping program, but subsequently decided it was bad policy.

It only takes one glance at cap-and-trade to discern the absurdity of the policy. To do a complete about-face on the issue is motivated by nothing other than politics.


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