Beltway Happenings  
June 15, 2010--Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN) delivered the keynote address at an American Enterprise Institute conference on "Health Care Reform: An Initial Checkup."  Daniels described the law as "a huge mandated tax increase at the state level" and said it "freezes in perpetuity the worst features of the current system."  Daniels said, "Don't call this reform. It didn't reform anything. It took the form we had and blew it up to poster size."  He said the law could cost Indiana $2.9-$3.6 billion over ten years, including about $1.3 billion due to the cost of expanding Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.  To illustrate his views, Daniels at one point held up a large syringe labeled "Obama Care" that a Hoosier had given him; instead of a needle, however, this syringe had a large screw.  Daniels said he was unsure if Indiana would participate in the exchanges called for under the law, noting that they are optional and "there are an awful lot of unknowns in there."  "This is going to be a very clumsy and difficult and awkward system," Daniels said.  Daniels also pointed to health care successes in Indiana, notably the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) for the uninsured, and the fact that more than 70 percent of public service employees are covered by health savings accounts.  He said that under the reform, HIP likely would "subsumed and washed away." (AEI page)
Daniels has received a fair bit of buzz in the past week or so. The Weekly Standard featured the Indiana governor in a flattering cover story in its June 14 issue ("Ride Along with Mitch").  A mini media flurry developed when potential 2012 candidate Mike Huckabee took issue with Daniels' pronouncement in the article that the next president "would have to call a truce on the so-called social issues."  Daniels has remained coy about his intentions for 2012.  In the article he does cite Newt Gingrich as telling him to "...say you're leaving the door open, and the national press will pay a lot more attention to your viewpoint."  Daniels has a PAC, teasingly named the Aiming Higher PAC, and in fact was scheduled to appear at a fundraising dinner for the PAC at the Willard Hotel this very evening.

Copyright © 2010  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action. All rights reserved.
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