Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty said Sunday he would never support requiring everyone to buy health insurance, taking issue with the healthcare changes that 2012 rival Mitt Romney oversaw as Massachusetts governor.
Pawlenty: Individual mandate at any level is 'dramatic overreach'
Pawlenty discounted Romney's argument that, while the federal government went too far in requiring individuals to buy insurance under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, it was appropriate for states to decide if individual mandates were right for them. "I strongly oppose the individual mandate at any level," Pawlenty said. "I think it's a dramatic overreach." He noted that he was party to a lawsuit in Florida trying to get the law declared unconstitutional.
Elbowing Romney ahead of a candidates' debate Monday night in New Hampshire, Pawlenty said Obama had stated that "he designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare." He added: "What I don't understand is they both continue to defend it." Pawlenty said that as governor of Minnesota he had rejected the individual-mandate idea and opted for market-based changes that encouraged consumers to make good decisions in choosing healthcare plans.
Pawlenty's attempt to draw a sharp policy distinction with Romney, the current front-runner in the GOP presidential race, came as he sought to bat down suggestions that he's too "nice and too bland" to take the political fight to Obama.
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