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November 19 2010

Oh, BrownCare

Hadley Heath

Wouldn't it be dramatic if ObamaCare met its end in a heated Supreme Court trial?  Or if a few years from now, a more reasonable Congress and President acted to repeal it altogether? 

But what may be more likely is a slow, sad death by a thousand cuts.  Many of the Republicans who will take office in the next Congress have vowed to defund or de-authorize the law in any way possible.

Now, in the most recent developments, Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) has gotten together with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to propose a bipartisan "Empowering States to Innovate" Act.  Is this Act a good idea?

You can read about it in the Boston Globe or the Washington Examiner or elsewhere, but the bottom line is this:  There are some good and some not-so-good aspects to this proposal. 

The Act would allow states to apply for waivers from ObamaCare sooner (2014 as opposed to 2017), and would give them the chance to be more in control of health reform - well, slightly more in control. 

States would face the challenge of insuring more people without adding to the deficit.  If they could do this - while meeting the same standards for insurance that ObamaCare prescribes - they would be freed of the individual mandate, the exchanges, the subsidy scheme, etc.

The title of the bill is what gets me - "Empowering States to Innovate."  Innovation is the child of the free market.  If state policymakers, insurance companies, and health care providers were truly free to innovate, I believe our health care system would generally be lower-cost, offer a greater variety of insurance policies, engage more consumers (patients), and improve the quality of care offered. 

If under "BrownCare" states were allowed to innovate, this would be good.  But freeing them of the "minimum essential" requirements of ObamaCare would be even better, allowing for real innovation.  In any case, cutting back the intrusive role of the federal government in Obama's plan is good.  But total repeal and free-market reform should remain the goal ahead.

Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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