Back in March, when I asked Tim Pawlenty what he thought about Mitt Romney’s health care law in Massachusetts, the former Minnesota governor took a pass at hitting the GOP front runner, saying, “everyone has their own approach and record. [...] I’ll speak to my own record.” But this morning, during an appearance on Fox News Sunday, Pawlenty — who is preparing to debate Romney in New Hampshire on Monday — came out swinging against Romney’s law. “President Obama designed Obamacare after Romneycare and basically made it Obamneycare”:
PAWLENTY: We now have the same features, essentially the same features. The President’s own words is that he patterned Obamacare in large measure after what happened in Massachusetts. What I don’t understand is that they both continue to defend it. I took a different approach in Minnesota, we did market based reforms.
Host Chris Wallace also pressed Pawlenty on his past flirtation with universal health care and the individual mandate. In 2006, Pawlenty praised Romney’s leadership on the issue and called the mandate a “potentially helpful,” if incomplete, solution to covering the uninsured but “one that we’re intrigued by and I think at least open to.” Pawlenty said he considered the mandate option, but ultimately rejected it. Watch it:
Pawlenty is eager to put up his health care record next to Romney’s, but the comparison is far from flattering. While “Romneycare” has extended health care coverage to 98 percent of all state residents, the number of uninsured increased under Pawlenty’s governorship. Pawlenty experimented with different methods of bundling payments to providers — creating baskets for certain conditions — and implemented pay-for performance initiatives, but the uninsurance rate rose from 395,000 citizens without health insurance in 2003, to 446,000 in 2008 — the last year before the recession.