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Let 50 different health care flowers bloom!
Howard Richman, 3/28/2012

The U.S. Supreme Court may be about to declare Obamacare to be unconstitutional. This would throw the health care ball back to the states, who can look beyond their borders to find out what works.

Obamacare required much too much in the way of coverage, much too much in the way of "free" care and much to much in the way of mandates. One recently publicized example: It even requires that insurance policies provide free birth control pills to single women attending Catholic universities. The inevitable result: higher premiums, increased government spending, increased business costs, price ceilings, shortages and rationing.

In contrast, some of the states are coming up with economically-sensible plans. Take North Carolina for example. In a class essay, one of my students reported her family's experience moving from New Jersey to North Carolina. She wrote:

I am one of them—those uninsurable children and teenagers who are denied health care insurance due to preexisting conditions. I have severe asthma and am on a long-term asthma controller....

New Jersey had state insurance regulations that didn't allow companies to charge different levels based on pre-existing health conditions. This led to higher prices as the cost of insurance was averaged among all consumers, regardless of health. Coverage was widely available, but extremely expensive at $18,000 a year for a family of three. 

However, we are far better off in North Carolina because of North Carolina's safety-net: a high risk health-insurance pool. North Carolina has allowed for free market insurance rates, but provided a safety net for those ejected from the system either out-right or due to exorbitant prices.... I can now be insured for $2,000 a year which brings our family total to $7,000 a year, far cheaper than New Jersey....

If states wish, they can enact an Obamacare-like system which would raise insurance premiums, government spending and business costs. Alternatively, they can choose a North Carolina type of system which combines free markets with a government-funded safety net. Meanwhile, the federal government should get out of the way! Let 50 different health care flowers bloom!

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    Wikipedia:

  • [An] extensive argument for balanced trade, and a program to achieve balanced trade is presented in Trading Away Our Future, by Raymond Richman, Howard Richman and Jesse Richman. “A minimum standard for ensuring that trade does benefit all is that trade should be relatively in balance.” [Balanced Trade entry]

    Journal of Economic Literature:

  • [Trading Away Our Future] Examines the costs and benefits of U.S. trade and tax policies. Discusses why trade deficits matter; root of the trade deficit; the “ostrich” and “eagles” attitudes; how to balance trade; taxation of capital gains; the real estate tax; the corporate income tax; solving the low savings problem; how to protect one’s assets; and a program for a strong America....

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  • In Trading Away Our Future   Richman ... advocates the immediate adoption of a set of public policy proposal designed to reduce the trade deficit and increase domestic savings.... the set of public policy proposals is a wake-up call... [February 17, 2009 review by T.H. Cate]