Kim Strassel of the Wall Street Journal($) wrote on Pioneer’s health care book today, and she highlights a very important historical point. Major entitlement reform is only possible when some level of national consensus has been achieved around end goals. In The Great Experiment: The States, The Feds and Your Healthcare we examine welfare reform in the mid-1990’s as a perfect example of this paradigm.
Excerpt from The Wall Street Journal column:
The more conservatives have been forced to think about health care, the more they’ve understood the merits of state experimentation. Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute—a free-market think tank in Boston that has published a book on ObamaCare and RomneyCare titled “The Great Experiment: The States, the Feds, and Your Health Care”—argued in a recent conversation that the fundamental mistake of ObamaCare was in imposing a giant, untested law on an unwilling nation.
He contrasts this to the 1990s welfare reform, which came only after 20 years of state experimentation. By the time the federal law was passed, politicians on both sides of the aisle, he says, had come to a sort of “settlement” as to what generally worked. “The Great Experiment” argues that the GOP “alternative” to ObamaCare needs to be federal steps that give states the maximum flexibility to innovate and experiment with free-market health care.