Tim Pawlenty on Health Care
Republican MN Governor
PAWLENTY: To correct you, I have not questioned Rep. Bachmann's migraine headaches. I don't think that is an issue. Now as to Rep. Bachmann's record. Look, she has done wonderful things in her life, but it is an indisputable fact that in Congress her record of accomplishment and results is nonexistent. If you go to my record in Minnesota you will see government spending went from historic high to historic lows. We transformed the court in a conservative direction, we did health care reform the right way--no mandates individually, no government take-overs and more. That's the kind of record we're going to need to contrast and beat Barack Obama.
PAWLENTY: Obamacare was patterned after Mitt's plan in Massachusetts. And for Mitt or anyone else to say that there aren't substantial similarities or they're not essentially the same plan, it just isn't credible. So that's why I called it Obamneycare, and I think that's a fair label, and I'm happy to call it that again tonight.
ROMNEY: There are some similarities between what we did in Massachusetts and what Pres. Obama did, but there are some big differences. And one is, I believe in the 10th Amendment. And that says that powers not specifically granted to the federal government are reserved by the states and the people. The president took the power of the states away from them.
ROMNEY: There are some big differences. Obamacare raises $500 billion in taxes. We didn't raise taxes in Massachusetts. Ours was a state plan; if people don't like it, they can change it. I introduced a plan to repeal Obamacare & replace it with a state-centric program.
PAWLENTY: Pres. Obama stood before the nation in 2008 and said he promised to do health care reform focused on cost containment and he'd do it on a bipartisan basis. This is another example of him breaking his promise.
Q: Why "Obamneycare"?
PAWLENTY: I cited Obama's own words that he looked to Massachusetts as a blueprint or a guide when he designed Obamacare.
Q: You chose those words, "Obamneycare," on "Fox News Sunday;" why is it not "Obamneycare" with Romney right here?
PAWLENTY: Using the term "Obamneycare" was a reflection of the president's comments that he designed Obamacare on the Massachusetts health care plan.
A: The answer to our health care problem is not to drag it into Washington DC and create a top-down, government-run, centralized, limited-choice, limited-option system. We took a different direction in my state of Minnesota: to empower individuals and families to make choices that are best for them. If they need financial help let's give it to them directly. Obama promised the nation that he would do health care reform, focused on cost containment. He opposed an individual mandate. And said he was going to do it with Republicans. He broke that promise. He and jammed down our throats one of the most partisan, one of the most misguided pieces of legislation in the country it is going to make health care worse, not better.
We're blessed to live in the freest and most prosperous nation in the history of the world. Our freedom is the very air we breathe. We must repeal Obamacare!
For decades, our health-care system has been set up like an open bar at a wedding. People consume goods & service without knowing or caring about the price or quality, with no regard to who is paying the bill. Bill? What bill? The bill magically disappears to a third party. Obviously no such system is sustainable. Our government programs, including health care, need to look more like a cash bar than an open bar. Any system that creates the illusion that something is free when we know it's not really free is doomed to fail. Such systems defy what we know about markets and what we know about human nature.
Pawlenty likewise opposed unfunded health care proposals in Minnesota. In 1994, he argued the Legislature should start over on health reform and pay better attention to costs.
Pawlenty rejected the notion that government was going to provide helpful "competition" against private sector health insurance. He does, however, support some government involvement in the health care system. Upon re-election, he called universal coverage an admiral goal and said government could play a role by starting to insure all children: "We all, I think, can chart a path toward universal coverage. We're going to have to move in stages, We should start with covering all kids."
We understand that Congress is moving toward another temporary funding extension for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The nation's governors recommend the extension include sufficient funds so no state faces a shortfall during the time of the extension. Going forward, full reauthorization of SCHIP remains our top priority and we are hopeful that Congress and the Administration will continue discussions to ensure a sensible, bipartisan SCHIP reauthorization proposal is reached as soon as possible.
In addition, the series of recent Medicaid administrative changes represents a significant cost shift to states of approximately $12 billion in federal Medicaid spending over five years that governors strongly oppose. Sufficient time is needed to evaluate the proposed regulations and we request Congress consider imposing new and extending existing moratoriums on the proposed Medicaid regulations to provide this opportunity.
The nation's governors urge you to include state countercyclical funding as part of your legislation to stimulate the economy. This would include $6 billion in Medicaid assistance by freezing scheduled federal FMAP reductions and increasing all states' FMAP as well as providing $6 billion in a flexible block grant.
The revenue reductions and Medicaid increases that accompany all economic downturns, in combination with state balanced budget requirements, are forcing states to cut spending as the economy weakens. These actions are procyclical and will make the current downturn both longer and more severe.
States already are experiencing the effects of the slowing economy. During the last two recessions, the state fiscal picture continued to deteriorate for two years after the recessions ended. If the current downturn follows the path of the two previous recessions, 35 to 40 states will face budget cuts in 2009.
In 2003, While we strongly believe that a more thoughtful and collaborative consideration of the issues raised by these regulations is in the best interest of the Medicaid program, there simply is not sufficient time during the remainder of the congressional calendar to fashion appropriate solutions. Your legislation delays implementation of the regulations to ensure Congress has sufficient time to act appropriately on the regulations.
Your leadership on this high priority of the nation's governors is very much appreciated.
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