Daniels' office says he never supported mandate, provides 2004 health care platform to prove it 

Gov. Mitch Daniels' office has provided me with a copy of his 2004 health care platform to push back against reports that he once supported requiring individuals to obtain health coverage. The document, which you can view here, contains a series of proposals for Indiana as part of his “Roadmap,” but none of the ideas involve an individual mandate.

Yesterday, I noted a 2003 article from the South Bend Tribune which indicated that then-candidate Daniels supported a mandate. The key part read:

The candidate said he favors a universal health care system that would move away from employee-based health policies and make it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance.

Daniels envisioned one scenario in which residents could certify their coverage when paying income taxes and receive a tax exemption that would cover the cost.

"We really have to have universal coverage," Daniels said.

Today, Daniels spokeswoman Jane Jankowski told me “He does not favor mandates.”

She explained that his position at the time was that he supported moving away from an employer-based health insurance system to one where individuals are given tax credits to choose their own health insurance – a standard free market proposal. If such action were taken, she said, it would bring the nation to mostly universal coverage because most people would take advantage of the credit.

Asked about the impression left by the article that he supported the mandate, Jankowski said, “I'm not going to try and go into that reporters' mind and try to know what his understanding is or what happened that day, but there are no other references anywhere to anything like that.”

She noted that, “The only quote that's in the story is the one where the governor talks about making universal coverage more available.”

The release of the 2004 platform does help clarify what he was actually proposing for Indiana, and it is certainly important to note that it did not include a mandate. But just to further clarify the matter, I asked Jankowski if she had any document from the 2003 campaign around the time that the article was written that elaborated further on his proposals for the national level involving tax credits.

“This is it,” she told me, referring to the 2004 document I've just posted. “There is nothing more to this.”

And perhaps there isn't. But should Daniels run for president, you can bet that his rivals will be digging through everything from 2003 to find additional evidence of his support for a mandate. So Daniels better hope that this mostly paraphrased article really is it.

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Philip Klein

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