The GOP’s Mitch Daniels problem — and vice versa
Writing in the National Review, Cato’s Michael Cannon makes a really strong case for Gov. Mitch Daniels.
“Whereas Obamacare requires states to open their Medicaid programs to families of four earning $31,000 (138 percent of the federal poverty level), Daniels expanded Indiana’s Medicaid program to families of four earning $44,000 (200 percent of poverty),” Cannon notes. “From 2008 to 2010, Indiana’s Medicaid enrollment spiked: Adult enrollments grew 21 percent, a rate nearly double the national average. By 2010, Daniels had enrolled another 62,000 Hoosiers in government-run health care.” And how’d he pay for this? A cigarette tax.
But it wasn’t just a straight expansion, as Cannon explains. Daniels “offers high-deductible coverage combined with a taxpayer-funded health savings account, whereas Obamacare simply expands traditional Medicaid with its notoriously lousy access to care.” And how do Hoosiers like it? The numbers speak for themselves: “94 percent of HIP enrollees are satisfied with the program....HIP enjoys a much higher retention rate than the regular Medicaid program...[and] HIP’s waiting list is now 50,000 Hoosiers long.”
There’s just one thing that’s a bit weird: Cannon’s piece is an attack on Daniels. It’s entitled “Mitch Daniels’s Obamacare problem” and concludes that in trying to make government health care work better for his constituents, Daniels has done too much to legitimize government health care in the eyes of conservatives and libertarians. It’s as telling a look on the way the right is currently approaching health-care reform as you’ll find, and I recommend reading it in full.
| March 4, 2011; 12:15 PM ET
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