A few days ago, I read the following headline for an opinion piece in the ABQ Journal “Bill Needs States’ Flexibility.” The article, surprisingly enough, was not written by some free market advocate, but some folks from the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign. While the group’s mission statement does not explicitly state it, the group’s goal is to promote government-run health care in New Mexico.
Thus, the point of the op-ed was to encourage Congress and President Obama to include language in any health care legislation that “gives states the flexibility to develop their own approaches to solving the problems of growing numbers of uninsured and rising health care costs.” Now, there is no doubt that these folks want a government option and we at the Rio Grande Foundation want less government intervention in the health care marketplace, we can agree that federalism is superior to a top-down “reform” undertaken in Washington.
It would be great if all states had the freedom to opt in and out of various government programs and, more importantly, if each state had to foot the bill for those programs. After all, a program is hardly optional if the federal government is offering a 3 for 1 match for states to expand those programs (as is offered for Medicaid in New Mexico).
Also, I hope that the federal government will respect the wishes of states (Arizona voters will be voting on just such a ballot measure in 2010) to opt out of any government-run health care system.