Steve Poizner challenges healthcare reform bill on constitutional and fiscal grounds

With the recent criticism Steve Poizner took in making illegal immigration a risky focal point of his gubernatorial drive, likely to go unnoticed are his fiscal stances regarding the state’s current problems.  Poizner is actually in lockstep with Governor Schwarzenegger in opposing the new federal healthcare mandate.

The Los Angeles Daily News reports Poizner’s concern with the new bill is a budgetary matter, with “the burden of higher health insurance premiums and health care costs, in addition to an onerous federal mandate that will require residents to have health insurance, whether they want it or not.”

Despite trailing approximately 50 points to gubernatorial rival Meg Whitman, the unfunded mandate of the federal health bill is an issue both he and Whitman view as bad for the state.

Poizner’s stance reveals his distaste for the growing federal government bureaucracy at its current rate.  His brand of conservatism reflects the mood in several other states toward the current bill.  With at least 13 states initially challenging the new federal healthcare regulations, Poizner challenged Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown to contest the bill’s constitutionality.

In response to Poizner’s call to challenge the bill’s unfunded mandate, Brown said he would look into it.  At the same time, some may see his talk as doublespeak because Brown also slammed Republicans for playing partisan politics on the healthcare issue.

According the Washington Examiner, Californians can expect to pay $2-3 billion in annual healthcare costs with the new bill. With California facing another $20 billion budget deficit, the Examiner also said that the new unfunded mandate will put California further in the hole.

For voters not to consider Poizner’s stance on fiscal matters is understandable.  A polarizing issue like his controversial stance on illegal immigration is bound to make more attention-getting headlines in a state with a large Hispanic population, crowding out other key issues of the current campaign.

While Poizner may not be the top choice as the next governor, perhaps his role as insurance commissioner lends credibility to his claims that the new federal healthcare legislation will negatively impact the state.  With voters making their decision this November, they will likely choose between two different visions of unfunded mandates and their impact on the state’s future.