Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’


The Plight of Implementation

   Posted by: Robert    in Politics

You would think by now that the speed with which Congress switches back and forth on whether or not to include a “public option” would have the media thoroughly tired of finding ways to spin either outcome as a win for Democrats.  Despite having made more switchbacks than a car on an highway through the mountains, the Washington Post has not slowed down in their ability to churn out nonsense aimed at making anything the Democrats do look intelligent.  A new article discusses what the senate health care deal would mean to consumers which paints a, predictably, much more rosy image of the story than is likely.

Included in the article was an interesting statement from a man named Paul Starr from Princeton:

“It’s good to have the federal government in there negotiating with plans because of the possibility that states will do a very bad job of regulating insurers and managing insurers,” said Paul Starr, a Princeton professor of public affairs. “This is a very important protection against poor implementation by states.”

Though this is not the first time I’ve heard this sentiment, it is the first time I’ve heard it so plainly applied to health care.  It is an interesting concept that seems to flow from the general notion that the federal government can do no wrong.  It is a quaint, if irrational, argument that seems to flow mostly from the 1960s civil rights era when the federal government, under orders from the Supreme Court and over the objections of Democrats, federalized the race industry and eliminated the Jim Crow policies of the states.  This gave the federal government instnat credibility as a nearly independent body of government which could craft policies without needing to worry too deeply about what the electorate might have to say.

Their policies, most of which are abject failures in terms of meeting their stated goals, sustainability, or both, are now the gold standard which folks like Mr. Starr want health care reform to compare.  The one thing that these programs — which include Medicare, civil rights reforms, and the radical expansion of the regulatory state — have actually succeeded in doing is removing power from the people and placing it in the hands of government.

A noteworthy example of the hollowness of federal “protection” is the FDA.  For drug manufacturers, the patent period is commonly viewed as the time during which they are able to recover the costs of the drugs they invent.  In order to recover their costs, they set their prices artificially high once the drugs are allowed to be sold.  A longer period of sales would allow drug prices to be lowered, because there would be a greater period of time over which they could spread out recovery of their up front costs.  But into this process comes the FDA, with its lengthy and expensive approval process which can take away as much as half of the patented life of a drug.  In, too, is the FDA, which has the power to pull from the market any drug, even ones the FDA has approved, for not being safe.  Thanks to the FDA, drugs cost more than they need to and have no particular guarantee of safety.  This is the sort of “protection against poor implementation” that we can expect from our federal government.

For liberals, though, the trouble reflected in the FDA doesn’t matter.  It only means that those programs need more money, need to be more invasive, and need to accumulate even more power.  But, that power comes with a price.  I found it notable that during the Bush years, the general cry that the federal government can do no wrong tended to fade into the background, if it was even made at all.  It was California, not Washington DC that was the champion of environmental policy.  It was state courts, not the FDA, that championed patients’ rights.  It seemed that the federal government under Bush could suddenly do nothing right.

We have, right now, a chance to have health care run by President Obama.  But he will not be President forever.  I can already hear the commotion now, come 2012 or 2016, when the White House again changes hands.  Just imagine what life will be like under our next President…

Doctor in Chief Sarah Palin.

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