Pawlenty and the mandate 

Yesterday, the Examiner's Conn Carroll posted an anti-Tim Pawlenty video that includes the following quote from his
time as governor:

"In Minnesota, as to the access issue, I believe we should move towards universal coverage. Everybody should be in a health plan of some sort. How we get there becomes important, I think a mandate by itself is potentially helpful."

Politico's Ben Smith excerpted a longer part of a 2006 Pawlenty speech in which he described his position in the mandate. Pawlenty began with a critique of the notion of fixing the health care system with a mandate alone. "If you simply go to the marketplace and mandate coverage, that is an incomplete solution," he said, hastening to add: "And Massachusetts didn't do that and neither would I."

Pawlenty laid out two problems with the "mandate by itself." First, he said, people will ignore it, as a substantial minority ignore the car insurance mandate.

"Do you know what percent of our population looks at that and says, 'Too bad, so sad, I don't feel like or can't afford it or whatever reason? Seventeen percent. And so here we have a mandate on auto insurance with the threat of a criminal penalty and the non compliance rate for auto insurance is more than double the lack of insured percent in health care," he said. "So a mandate by itself does not much."

The second objection echoes a line candidate Barack Obama used to attack Hillary Clinton's push for a mandate during their 2008 campaign, but later abandoned.

"If you are poor and don't have the resources or don't have the ability to access insurance because there are barriers to that, a mandate by itself is not much of a solution," Pawlenty said.
So, Pawlenty was clearly open to the idea of a mandate at one point in is career, but to his credit, he never actually imposed a mandate as governor, and as Hotline's Erin McPike reported last year, he twice rejected recommendations that he institute a mandate, including from his own health care task force.

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Philip Klein

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