Before the election, I concluded that Sen. McCain had a health care plan which would have allowed states and families more freedom to choose health care that they prefer, instead of that which the federal government prefers. Sen. Obama’s choice of Dr. Tom Daschle as the next U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services confirms that the federal government is likely to stifle even the limited degree of choice that we managed to get out of President Bush (generally a champion of big government), through Health Savings Accounts and some Medicaid reforms. (Senator Daschle’s recent book, Critical, reports his belief in the conventional wisdom that the U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not universally guarantee its citizens’ health care. This is simply not the case: no human government can make such a guarantee.)
I had hoped that Arizona’s Prop 101, which had a narrow race on November 4th, would keep a spark of light alive. Prop 101 would guarantee Arizonans’ freedom from a state government take-over of their health care. Unfortunately, such was not to be the case.
Although the campaign for Prop 101 has not released a statement conceding the election, they tell me that they accept the 50.2% to 49.8% defeat of the “Freedom of Choice in Health Care Act”. That’s too bad, but it’s close enough to call a “moral victory”, I’d say.
I suspect that if you’re not involved in health care every day, you probably don’t see the threat of government monopoly up closely enough to take action to stop it. In addition, the opposition (which included Gov. Napolitano) tried to scare the voters into (wrongly) believing that Prop 101 would eliminate any social safety net for health care. Finally, I have to quibble with the way the ballot defined a “yes” versus a “no” vote. “No”, according to the ballot, “shall have the effect of retaining the current law regarding a person or entity’s health care choices.” That’s misleading, because “yes” would not have disrupted the current law, either: it merely would have stopped a government take-over.
With the playing field tilted so severely against it, Prop 101’s narrowly negative outcome should encourage the advocates of free choice in health care.