Jon Huntsman on Health Care

Republican UT Governor

ObamaCare can't be waived without repealing the mandate

ROMNEY: [to Huntsman]: On day one, I'll grant a waiver to all 50 states. That doesn't stop ObamaCare in its tracks entirely. We have to repeal ObamaCare, and I will do that on day two with a reconciliation bill.

HUNTSMAN: It's disingenuous to just say that you can waive it all the way. The mandate will be in place. The IRS is already planning on 19,500 new employees to administer that mandate. That will stay, and that's the ruinous part of ObamaCare. Mitt, your plan is not going to do anything.

ROMNEY: I said I'd find a way to repeal it. Did you miss that?

HUNTSMAN: It doesn't repeal the mandate.

SANTORUM: Through reconciliation you can repeal the taxes, you can repeal the spending, and therefore the mandate has no teeth because there's no tax penalty if you don't enforce.

Source: 2011 GOP debate at Dartmouth College, NH , Oct 11, 2011

Stripped-down bare-bones catastrophic health insurance

Q: You say ObamaCare is a trillion dollar bomb dropped on taxpayers and job creation. Would you repeal allowing kids to stay on their parents' policies until they were 26?

HUNTSMAN: We are fundamentally approaching health care reform the wrong way. The $1 trillion bomb means that, over 10 years, ObamaCare is creating such uncertainty in the marketplace that businesses aren't willing to hire, they're not willing to deploy capital into the marketplace. It everyone it has gummed up our system. So what do we do? I say, let the states experiment and find breakthroughs in how we address health care reform. All I want to do is do the kind of thing we did in the state of Utah. We don't have affordable insurance policies today. We got one in Utah: a stripped down bare bones catastrophic coverage policy that young people can finally afford. And then you can start whittling down the high percentage of the people who are uninsured in this country because they have an affordable policy.

Source: 2011 GOP Google debate in Orlando FL , Sep 22, 2011

We reformed UT healthcare without mandates

Q: Is it ever appropriate for government at any level--federal or state--to impose an individual mandate to force people to buy health insurance?

A: Absolutely not. The most important thing we can do in this health care debate is talk about individual responsibility, personal responsibility. But I've got another solution for you. The situation in Utah is pretty darn good. We embarked upon health care reform. We did better than Texas, in terms of covering the uninsured, and we don't have a mandate. It allows the free market to create a marketplace of choices and options for people. I believe that once Obamacare is repealed--and it will be--the question will then be, what do we do now? In Utah, we approached cost-cutting, cost overruns, harmonizing medical records, and expanding the marketplace for choices and options for individuals to choose from, without a heavy-handed and expensive mandate that has cost the average family in Massachusetts $2,500.

Source: 2011 GOP debate in Simi Valley CA at the Reagan Library , Sep 7, 2011

Supported individual mandate in 2007; opposes it now

In 2004, Huntsman promised to reform Utah's health care system. He vowed to fix a system that had left thousands of Utah residents without health insurance, even telling the incoming executive director of Utah's Department of Health that his goal was to insure everyone. During his first term, Huntsman became smitten with Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's Health Connector plan, which included a mandate.

Huntsman and his administration went on to support a 2007 United Way of Salt Lake City plan which called for a mandate. That same year, his cabinet and others pushed draft legislation that mirrored the Massachusetts model and the United Way plan and included a mandate. When the Utah legislature balked at such a mandate, it was taken off the table. Instead, in 2008, Huntsman passed a reform bill that established a health care exchange for small businesses known as the Utah Health Exchange that left uninsured individuals unaddressed. Huntsman has denied that he ever supported a mandate.

Source: Huffington Post, "Individual Mandate" , Jun 17, 2011

Supports market-based, consumer empowering legislation

A blogger has unearthed a 2007 documentary project on health care reform on station KUED in Utah. Huntsman is clear about support for a mandate:

"I wouldn't shy away from mandates. 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. I'm not sure you get to the point of serious attempt without some sort of mandate associated with what you're trying to do. Certainly a market-based approach is part of the solution as well. Nobody likes the word mandate, but without that kind of insistence--that directness, I don't know that you can achieve something this challenging in a short period of time, which is what I think we need to do as a nation."

A campaign spokesperson replied, "Gov. Huntsman studied and considered all the options for health care reform in Utah. In the end he fought for and signed market-based, consumer empowering legislation--without a mandate--that is the model for conservative health care reform. "

Source: Huffington Post, "Individual Mandate" , Jun 17, 2011

Truly affordable insurance: pathway to coverage for everyone

Nowhere is major surgery needed more than in accessing affordable healthcare. I'm sorry to have to say it again this year, but skyrocketing healthcare costs are bankrupting businesses and leaving too many Utahns with no options at all. In a state as compassionate as ours, certainly we can find a better way to cover the uninsured.

We are going to find policies that are affordable, the political will to enact them and, through perseverance, provide a pathway to coverage for everyone. Therefore, I am asking all involved: doctors, insurance companies, consumers and we in this chamber to close the gap on the uninsured by 2012. Let's begin this session by passing the task force legislation to develop a truly affordable insurance policy. But this is not enough. We must connect all people to the healthcare they need. A truly affordable policy and the means by which to connect all people will be done in this state, this year!

Source: Utah 2009 State of the State address , Jan 27, 2009

No denial of coverage because of minor ailments

On one hand, we are one of the nation's most advanced states in medical sciences. On the other hand, we have far too many Utahns who cannot afford adequate health care.

It is unacceptable that a young father who works for a small business and wants to buy insurance for his family is denied coverage because of minor ailments. Should eczema or post-partum depression preclude a family from getting affordable health insurance?

What business or family in Utah hasn't experienced rising health care costs or, even worse, had to forgo treatment for lack of coverage? In Utah there are now more than 300,000 people without insurance. That's one out of every eight of us. And many more fear that losing or changing a job may leave them without health insurance.

In a state that prides itself on practical solutions, this issue is crying out for a fix. We cannot wait for Washington's one-size-fits-all plan that does not account for Utah's unique challenges and abilities.

Source: Utah 2008 State of the State address , Jan 22, 2008

We mandate insurance for cars, but not children's health

It is an irony that we live in a country which mandates insurance for our cars, but not for our children's health. We must stop seeing this crisis as a one dimensional social issue. The large number of those without health insurance nationally and in our own State highlights a dilemma in defining the proper role of government and a critical challenge to the exercise of individual responsibility. I am recommending more than $4 million to lift the cap on the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which will allow more than 14,000 additional Utah children access to the health care they so desperately need.

In addition to the children, there are hundreds of thousands of uninsured adults. We must stop kidding ourselves that those who are uninsured are simply not receiving health care. They are receiving care, but they are receiving too little, too late--and typically in settings such as emergency rooms where the care is much more expensive than if it had been provided elsewhere.

Source: Utah 2007 State of the State address , Jan 16, 2007

Other candidates on Health Care: Jon Huntsman on other issues:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Rocky Anderson(J)
Roseanne Barr(PF)
Rep.Virgil Goode(C)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L)
Jill Stein(G)
Andre Barnett(Ref.)

GOP Withdrawals:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2013