Former Minnesota Gov. and likely 2012 GOP presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty spoke to a group of health care providers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire Friday. Pawlenty said programs like Medicare and Medicaid are unsustainable and need reworking.
Pawlenty called for giving consumers more control over subsidized health care spending. He said if consumers were able to make choices based cost and quality of care, people would get better treatment at a lower cost.
"I don't like movements toward centralized systems," he said. "I don't like movements towards government-centric models. I don't like movements towards big government bureaucracies, particularly when we see the track record of the two we have."
Pawlenty cited health savings accounts as an example of market forces and consumer choice at work, and he said Minnesota leads the nation in the percentage of residents who have them.
Some in the audience questioned whether Americans are capable of directing their own health care and suggested people are more likely to get the care they need under single-payer models than they are directing their own health care.