If elected president, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said he wouldn't hesitate in repealing the current health reform law “as long as it's accompanied by a very meaningful and genuine reform of the system” that reflects consumer interests.
The Republican governor, who worked as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush and for Eli Lilly and Co., has been pegged as a likely candidate to seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012. He was speaking in Washington at a forum hosted by the Congressional Health Care Caucus.
The new law “will perpetuate and extend rather than address the problems that have concerned us all about healthcare,” Daniels said, claiming it will impose additional costs on the states and add to the tax burden of American citizens.
Setting up the state-run health insurance exchanges in particular “will be a nightmare,” Daniels predicted. To implement these exchanges, “someone will have to set up a massive new eligibility system. I'm not at all certain this will prove to be a good judgment for the people of our state or any other state.”
He wouldn't go as far as to say the law was unconstitutional, or speculate on the success of pending lawsuits that challenge its constitutionality. “But it is not a frivolous question,” he noted, adding that the law does try to “compel free citizens to purchase something,” and undermines state prerogatives.
Daniels waxed negative on the reform law even before it was approved. At the National Governors Association's meeting this year, he insisted that lawmakers should start over instead of imposing new taxes on consumers through a government-run plan.
The governor is a strong advocate for consumer-driven healthcare. In 2007 he signed into law a bill that enacted the Healthy Indiana Plan, which to date has enrolled at least 50,000 uninsured individuals. For those eligible for the plan, health savings accounts are available to help pay medical expenses.