- Saying No to the Schwarzenegger, Clinton Health Care Plans
- Voters Sick of the War Curiously Voting for Hawkish McCain
- Bush's Commitment to Fiscal Conservatism
- Reason.tv's Drew Carey on Obama, Politics, Drug Laws
- New at Reason.com and Reason.org
Saying No to the Schwarzenegger, Clinton Health Care Plans
In a column in The Wall Street Journal, Reason Foundation's Shikha Dalmia details why California Democrats derailed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's universal health care bill and what the defeat means for the national debate over health care. Dalmia writes, "On Monday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's universal health care plan was shot down by a committee in the state's Senate, 7-1. The most vociferous opponents were not fiscal conservatives, but labor unions that launched a last-minute revolt against its most crucial feature: an individual mandate that would have forced everyone to buy coverage. This defeat has national political implications. Hillary Clinton, for example, has denounced Barack Obama for refusing to include an individual mandate in his health-care plan. Yet many California unions argued that a mandate would force uninsured, middle-income working families to divert money from more pressing needs toward coverage whose price and quality they cannot control. The unions are correct: This is exactly what is happening in Massachusetts, where Mitt Romney enacted a similar plan two years ago as governor. (And Mr. Romney's plan is the inspiration for both the Schwarzenegger and Clinton plans.) The experience in the Bay State deserves a lot more scrutiny than it has been getting." Why were Democrats suddenly worried about the mandate? Dalmia finds premiums in Massachusetts rose 12 percent this year, "double last year's national average...Before the hike, the cheapest plan for uninsured couples in their 50s cost $8,200 annually. Now, unless government bureaucrats hand them an exemption, they might well find it cheaper to pay the penalty -- up to half the price of a standard policy -- than purchase insurance. That is, pay to remain uninsured. This is legalized extortion: TonySopranoCare...Mr. Obama is surely correct that part of the reason 45 million Americans are uninsured is not that no one is forcing them to buy it, but that they can't afford it. It may be too much to hope that Mr. Obama would embrace market-oriented measures -- such as deregulating insurance markets, giving patients more control over their health care dollars, and fixing the federal tax code to let individuals, like employers, buy health coverage with pre-tax dollars -- to bring down insurance costs. But unlike Mrs. Clinton, he at least seems to understand the perverse side effects of an individual mandate. Should Hillary Clinton ever be in a position to bully people into buying coverage, a coalition of labor and fiscal conservatives might well do to HillaryCare what it just did to GovernatorCare."
Voters Sick of the War Curiously Voting for Hawkish McCain
In an op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch, author of the book McCain: Myth of a Maverick, writes "there's a bizarre disconnect in the warm embrace between McCain and the electorate's mavericks. They hate the Iraq war, while he's willing to fight it for another century. The most pro-war presidential candidate in a decade is winning the 2008 GOP nomination thanks to the antiwar vote...So the voters most hostile to the war are backing a potential commander in chief who makes Bush look gun-shy. More than three years before the Bush administration elucidated the radical doctrine of preemptive war, McCain unveiled a plan during his first run at the presidency called 'rogue-state rollback,' in which 'we politically and materially support indigenous forces within and outside of rogue states' -- including Iraq, North Korea and Serbia -- 'to overthrow regimes that threaten our interests and values.'...too many people, wowed by the candidate's considerable charm, have convinced themselves that launching wars is for icky people like that Bush fellow, not Our John. 'He knows war,' the Des Moines Register wrote, in one of roughly 17,000 newspaper endorsements of McCain over the last two months, 'something we believe would make him reluctant to start one.' For Californians tempted by such delusions, it's wise to recall the famous words of the last septuagenarian to successfully seek the presidency: Trust, but verify."
» Welch: McCain's Comeback
» McCain: The Myth of a Maverick
Bush's Commitment to Fiscal Conservatism
In his nationally syndicated column, Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum puts President Bush's sudden interest in fiscal conservatism to the test: "The most conspicuous example of Bush's profligacy is the Medicare prescription drug benefit he championed and still cites with pride. Indeed, the worst thing about earmarks, which represent less than 1 percent of total federal spending, may be the way they're used in the logrolling that wins passage of budget-busting monstrosities like this one. During its first decade, the drug benefit is expected to cost about $70 billion a year, four times all of this year's earmarks put together. Over the long term, it accounts for almost a quarter of Medicare's estimated $34 trillion shortfall. In a statement issued before the State of the Union speech, the White House worried about 'the unsustainable growth in spending for Medicare' and 'Medicare's long-term unfunded liability.' Given the president's record of fiscal recklessness, that's about as believable as a statement from Cookie Monster condemning gluttony."
» Steve Chapman: Bogus Politics of Stimulus
Reason.tv's Drew Carey on Obama, Politics, Drug Laws
Watch "The Price Is Right" host Drew Carey talk about his work on Reason.tv, Sen. Barack Obama, politics and drug laws on PBS' The Tavis Smiley Show.