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Huntsman’s 2007 Health Plan Looked A Lot Like Obamacare

By Igor Volsky  

"Huntsman’s 2007 Health Plan Looked A Lot Like Obamacare"

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Jon Huntsman — just another Republicans who supported Obamacare before he opposed it, reports the Salt Lake Tribune:

Huntsman started with more-comprehensive goals. His 2007 draft, three-year plan to reform health care, obtained at the time by The Salt Lake Tribune , called for providing subsidies to help Utahns who didn’t qualify for government programs and requiring insurance companies to take all comers without charging higher premiums based on medical history. Taking a page from Massachusetts, Huntsman also sought to build a health exchange.

Using the term “personal responsibility,” the plan called for everyone to get insurance or face penalties.

While making individuals responsible for their health insurance would require a new mindset for the state, Huntsman said at a December 2007 news conference, “it will have to be part of what we do.” Over time, Utahns will “come to the logical end point that while it is burdensome at first glance, it’s economically an imperative for our society.”

A draft 2008 bill, developed with the governor’s staff and modeled on his plan, mandated that all Utahns have insurance by 2010. It would have taxed hospitals to generate $300 million in state and federal funds to help the poor buy private insurance.

Huntsman abandoned this version of reform (after it stopped being politically feasible) and his “goal of halving the state’s ranks of uninsured.” At the end of his term, “The state’s uninsured rate remained steady at 11 percent in 2010, meaning 300,000 Utahns went without coverage.”

On the campaign trail, Huntsman criticizes Romney — who enacted what Huntsman was basically touting in 2007 — for “lacking credibility” in following free market principles in his health policy achievement. A sober comparison between Huntmsan’s health record and Romney’s, however, points the credibility question in a different direction.

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