Daniels lays out options to undercut health reform, barring repeal

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) took to the pages of The Wall Street Journal on Monday to call President Obama's healthcare bill a "massive mistake."

In a move suggesting that the Indiana governor might be trying to build his profile ahead of a run for president in 2012, Daniels made a series of suggestions that he said would lessen the burden of healthcare reform on state budgets.

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"Many of us governors are hoping for either a judicial or legislative rescue from this impending disaster, and recent court decisions suggest there's a chance of that," Daniels wrote in an op-ed. "But we can't count on a miracle — that's only permitted in Washington policy making. We have no choice but to prepare for the very real possibility that the law takes effect in 2014."

All the Republican candidates considering a White House bid in the next two years have sought to distinguish themselves from challengers when it comes to healthcare reform. The issue is expected to be one of the defining ones in the Republican presidential primary.

It's understood that the candidates will be unanimous in calling for the law's repeal, but Daniels wrote about the possibility it might be sustained, and laid out a game plan to undercut the law short of its full repeal.

Daniels said he'd sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius outlining his proposed changes, which would mostly bypass many of the new mandates included in the law to enhance its function.

"If there's to be a train wreck, we governors would rather be spectators than conductors," Daniels wrote. "But if the federal government is willing to reroute the train to a different, more productive track, we are here to help."

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