Friday, May 20, 2011

Daniels endorsed a form of an individual mandate in 2003

From: Washington Examiner

During his 2003 run for governor, an Indiana newspaper reported that Mitch Daniels supported a form of an individual health insurance mandate.

An item in the South Bend Tribune from October, 23, 2003, on a campaign stop Daniels made to a health clinic, reported:

The candidate said he favors a universal health care system that would move away from employee-based health policies and make it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance.

Daniels envisioned one scenario in which residents could certify their coverage when paying income taxes and receive a tax exemption that would cover the cost.

"We really have to have universal coverage," Daniels said.

Under his plan, Daniels said, the nation could get away from the inefficient and unfair way in which health care is provided to those who are uninsured, many of whom end up in emergency rooms or "at clinics like this one."

This was first noted by Sam Stein of the Huffington Post, and then I located the Tribune article to confirm.

Earlier today, I defended Daniels from what I thought was an unfair attack. But this apparent past support for a form of a federal mandate is legitimately alarming and warrants greater scrutiny.

UPDATE:

NRO reports:

“Governor Daniels favors giving every American a tax credit individually so they can purchase insurance that is right for them,” Jankowski told National Review Online. “He believes nearly all would use it, so coverage would be nearly universal. He does not support a mandate.”

Jankowski added that opposition to an individual mandate “has always has been the governor’s position.”

“I don’t believe in mandates,” Daniels said in a radio interview with Michael Smerconish earlier today. “We took a very, very different approach here in Indiana, more or less health saving accounts for low income people.”

Daniels added that he didn’t agree that “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.”

The fact that the newspaper story's reference to mandatory health insurance is a paraphrase, rather than a direct quote, provides Daniels with some wiggle room here. But if similar stories emerge -- or video clips of him speaking of mandatory health insurance during his 2003 campaign -- it will spell deeper trouble for him.

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