Wednesday, July 29, 2009

T-Paw: "I want to make it clear Mitt Romney is a friend"

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty showed up on Greta Van Susteren's show last night to talk about the health care letter (pdf) he sent to Minnesota's congressional delegation yesterday, and yes, Mitt Romney's health care program in Massachusetts.

T-Paw was careful to call Romney his friend, but once again, didn't have friendly things to say about Massachusetts' health care system.

From the transcript:

VAN SUSTEREN: What I thought was particularly interesting in your letter to the Minnesota delegation is your reference to Massachusetts and that program, in which, at least as far I can see from what you've written, that you see as a failure. And what's sort of interesting is that that's the one that your colleague in the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, was essentially overseeing or behind. So tell me, are you taking issue with what Governor Romney did in his state?

PAWLENTY: Well, the letter doesn't reference my friend, Mitt Romney. He is a friend. He's been an effective leader in so many circumstances over the years. He hasn't been governor of Massachusetts for four years, so there's a lot that's happened since he's been there.

But the short version of what happened in Massachusetts is they did succeed in expanding access to health care, but the cost of that program is now out of control. And the federal government, in many respects, is patterning what it wants to do after that Massachusetts model, and that would be financially devastating. It would not control costs. It would make costs worse. And so that is a model we do not want to follow.

But I want to make it clear Mitt Romney is a friend, and he hasn't been in charge of that system for going on four years. And do the letter doesn't even mention him by name. It just expresses a concern about that reform's...

VAN SUSTEREN: It certainly...

PAWLENTY: ... failure to control costs.

VAN SUSTEREN: It certainly does not mention his name, you know, without any doubt. You're absolutely right. But correct me if I'm wrong, didn't Governor Romney -- didn't he sort of brag about Massachusetts a little bit and about the program that they were doing to insure people? And you're saying, essentially, in the letter that, you know, it's spiraling out of control. It's not a model that you would want for your own state.

PAWLENTY: But it's also -- Greta, the more important point is the United States Congress and the Obama administration is really the issue here, and they are the ones who are embracing many elements of that Massachusetts plan. The initial cost estimates have tripled under that plan in just about 36 months. They've had to go back and raise taxes to pay for it. They're cutting benefits. And now they're even potentially seeking a federal bail-out because the costs of it have risen so wildly.

It's not a model that we should follow. It's a model the United States Congress should abandon.