Skip Navigation

Close and don't show again.

Your browser is out of date.

You may not get the full experience here on National Journal.

Please upgrade your browser to any of the following supported browsers:

Dewhurst Ties Himself to Supporter of Health Care Mandate Dewhurst Ties Himself to Supporter of Health Care Mandate

This ad will end in seconds
Close X

Want access to this content? Learn More »

Forget Your Password?

Don't have an account? Register »

Reveal Navigation


Dewhurst Ties Himself to Supporter of Health Care Mandate

Updated at 6:31 p.m.

A former Houston neurosurgeon who has influenced Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst's thinking on health care policy also supports the individual mandate portion of President Obama's health care law, opening the Senate frontrunner up to criticism from his Republican opponents.

The Dallas Morning News this week highlighted an interview Dewhurst gave to the Waco Tribune-Herald in which he cites Dr. Guy Clifton. Last year, Dewhurst shepherded a law addressing health care costs through the state legislature. The measure was shaped by Clifton's book on the subject and widely supported by Republicans.

In an interview with the Texas Tribune last year, Clifton said:

"I practiced in Houston, where there's a 30 percent uninsured rate. Uninsured people just didn't have access to decent care. When they could get into the hospital district, they got good care. But they couldn't get in. There's enough money in the United States that they ought to be able to. I completely agreed with covering the uninsured. I absolutely supported the individual mandate."

He also criticized the federal health care law, saying it lacked measures "that would really decrease health care costs." And Dewhurst himself has vowed to vote to repeal Obama's health care law if elected. But that may not matter to Dewhurst's opponents, who can point to Dewhurst publicly allying himself to a doctor who embraced one of the most toxic issues in Republican politics.

"The individual mandate is a job-killing government intrusion that ushers in the eventual government takeover of our healthcare system," said former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. "Texas needs a U.S. Senator who is not only committed to axing the individual mandate and fighting for the full repeal of Obamacare, but is also bold enough to offer specific, free-market solutions that will help bring down rising costs and premiums, and that is exactly what I've done."

"David Dewhurst has been a vocal advocate for European-style healthcare payment systems, so it comes as no surprise that his chief healthcare "guru" was a champion of the individual mandate in ObamaCare," said former state Solicitor General Ted Cruz's spokesman James Bentsen.

Don't Miss Today's Top Stories


Rick, Executive Director for Policy

Concise coverage of everything I wish I had hours to read about."

Chuck, Graduate Student

The day's action in one quick read."

Stacy, Director of Communications

I find them informative and appreciate the daily news updates and enjoy the humor as well."

Richard, VP of Government Affairs

Chock full of usable information on today's issues. "

Michael, Executive Director

Sign up form for the newsletter