Gov. Tim Pawlenty took his media tour to Jan Mickelson’s radio show on Monday to discuss “Obamacare” and his presidential ambitions. Pawlenty, who touted himself as one of the country’s most aggressive governors in opposition to health care reform, compared the federal law to drug dealing. “The offer you a free sample and get you hooked” on federal programs. Mickelson’s Iowa-based show has a controversial history: Clear Channel, which carries the program, chastised him in August for anti-gay statements he made on the air.
On his record in opposing Obamacare, Pawlenty was not shy.
“We’ve been one of the most aggressive states in the country and I have been one of the most aggressive governors in the country trying to defeat, delay, deflect or opt out of Obamacare,” he said. “Just to give you a couple of the few highlights: I’m one of the governors who joined the lawsuit to have it declared unconstitutional, that’s number one.”
“Number two,” he continued, “we were one of of 11 states to be given the option to enroll early; I declined that opportunity and I’ve suffered some criticism here from the left because of that.”
“They’ve offered us money to get involved early in other aspects of ‘Obamacare,’ including exchanges and high-risk insurance pools, which we already have by the way in the state, and various other things, and we have turned that down.”
“I have issued an executive order saying that we will not participate in ‘Obamacare’ unless required by law or approved by me, consistent with something we would have already done at a state or local level anyhow, and moreso these are just some of the things that we’ve done, I think but we have I’ve been one of the leading governor’s fighting ‘Obamacare’ in the country.”
Mickelson asked him about the consequences for states that reject federal health care reform.
“Well, it’s mostly financial,” Pawlenty said. “I’ve likened them in the past – this is obviously stated for exaggerated purposes – but you know they are on some level like the drug dealers, they offer you a free sample and kinda get you hooked and then, you know, in this case, I don’t think it’s a perfect analogy, but they dribble out the money, the carrots.”
He continued, “They get these states hooked up on these programs. And now you look at a program like Medicaid, which is so out of control with costs going up so fast – this is the health care for the disadvantaged and poor – the costs are going up beyond any reasonable ability to pay for it, beyond any reasonable growth in revenues, and state’s technically have the ability to opt out to just go it their own and there’s some states that may consider that.”
The full audio can be heard here [MP3]