Washington (CNN) - Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a potential presidential candidate, is taking to the pages of the Wall Street Journal Monday to zero in on the healthcare law, one of the signature fiscal issues that wrangle the GOP rank-and-file and Republican leaders alike.
Daniels, a favorite for president among some members of the GOP because of his no-nonsense style, economic credentials and record of cutting spending in Indiana, writes the new law is a "massive mistake" that could decimate state budgets.
"For state governments, the bill presents huge new costs, as we are required," writes Daniels, the former budget director under President Bush. "In Indiana, our independent actuaries have pegged the price to state taxpayers at $2.6 billion to $3 billion over the next 10 years. This is a huge burden for our state, and yet another incremental expenditure the law's authors declined to account for truthfully."
Daniels says he hopes courts will ultimately repeal the law, but added that absent a repeal states must be permitted certain concessions, like flexibility to determine which insurers can participate in the market and the ability to waive the mandate that requires some individuals to buy expensive benefits they may not need. Daniels also wants the states to be reimbursed for the "administrative burden" of implementing the plan. He says he has written a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to outline his requests.
"The system we are proposing requires Washington to abandon most of the command-and-control aspects of the law as written," Daniel's writes. "It steers away from nanny-state paternalism by assuming, recognizing and reinforcing the dignity of all our citizens and their right to make health care's highly personal decisions for themselves."
The op-ed is Daniel's latest foray on the national stage as he mulls a presidential bid. Later this week, the Indiana Republican will appear at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a high profile gathering of conservatives that has become a regular stop for potential presidential candidates.
But Daniels introduction to the national stage hasn't been without its speed bumps. Last week he again angered social conservatives when he suggested – for the second time – that issues like abortion and gay marriage should take a back seat this election season in favor of economic concerns. That prompted fire from fellow potential candidate Rick Santorum that Daniels "doesn't understand conservatism."