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Where the other 2024 Republicans stand on health care

a podium in front of a blue background made of EKG charts and health pluses

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

The other likely GOP presidential candidates — the ones whose names aren't Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis — aren't exactly cranking out the position papers either.

  • But we found they're dipping their toes into the water on health care — and some, at least, have records to learn from.

Nikki Haley

The former governor and UN ambassador announced her presidential campaign in February. Since then, she’s made some news with her health care stances.

Entitlement reforms: In March, Haley proposed altering entitlement benefits for younger generations who have not yet started to use the programs.

  • Haley has said entitlement changes should limit benefits for wealthy Americans and include an expansion of Medicare Advantage, according to news reports. She also supports raising the retirement age.

Mental competency tests: Haley said when announcing her candidacy earlier this year that politicians over age 75 should have to take mental competency tests.

  • Haley later told Politico this would involve a brief screening from a medical provider to measure the person’s cognitive abilities.

Worth noting: Haley doesn't have official policy positions up on her campaign website yet, but she does list her "record of results" in previous positions.

  • The only mentions of health care on her list include signing anti-abortion legislation into law in South Carolina and rejecting Medicaid expansion as governor.

Tim Scott

The South Carolina senator has formed an exploratory committee for a 2024 presidential run.

Abortion: Scott is anti-abortion, but he's already stumbled while defining what that means to him. He declined to outright support Sen. Lindsey Graham's proposal for a 15-week federal abortion ban in an interview earlier this month.

  • Scott did co-sponsor Graham's pre-Dobbs proposals to ban abortions at 20 weeks, and he reiterated that position this month.

The intrigue: Scott's position as a sitting senator gives us more insight into his current policy views than we have for most other potential GOP candidates.

  • So far this year, he's co-sponsored bills to improve outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries with major depressive disorder, re-regulate health savings accounts and prohibit HHS from giving Title X grants to abortion providers.
  • He's also spoken out against CMS's changes to Medicare Advantage plan payment and the use of QALYs in federal programs.

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence has taken steps to distance himself from Trump on health care. He says he'll decide whether to run "well before late June."

  • Last month, he called for "common sense" reforms to entitlement programs including Medicare — though he didn’t give details on what that could mean.
  • A vocal opponent of abortion, he's been quick to say he wants mifepristone off the market.
  • When asked for comment on the former VP's health care views, a spokesperson referred Axios to the website of Advancing American Freedom, Pence's conservative policy advocacy group.

The details: The group advocates for promoting competition and transparency in health care, furthering value-based payment and building on the success of Operation Warp Speed.

  • AAF also calls for more choice and competition within Medicare and "allowing for easy, voluntary exit" from the program.
  • The group pushes for increased flexibility for states in running their Medicaid programs, too.

Asa Hutchinson

Hutchinson comes from a red state, but one that expanded Medicaid under the ACA. His high-profile twist on the program, though, was to seek work requirements, before the program was halted in the courts.

  • "We want them to have the health care coverage. We want them and we help them to comply. But we also want to help them to get to work and to show them where the path is so that they can have an income," Hutchinson told NPR in 2019.

Abortion: In 2021, Hutchinson signed a sweeping abortion ban into law. He noted in a statement at the time that "I would have preferred the legislation to include the exceptions for rape and incest, which has been my consistent view," according to the Associated Press.

Vaccines: Hutchinson also stood out to a certain degree among Republicans by being a vocal advocate for getting the COVID-19 vaccine and going on a tour of his state to encourage people to get the shots.

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