Time bomb?

Will the opt-out debates at the state level split the GOP?

Andrew Sullivan thinks that the public option with an opt-out will be catastrophic for Republicans going forward, with state-level GOP pols having to choose between terminally annoying the base (and facing primaries) or voting against giving a concrete benefit to actual people.   I’m not sure why Andrew thinks of this as “a brutal, Chicago-style political maneuver,” but I hope he’s right.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

5 thoughts on “Time bomb?”

  1. Uh, no. I'm not familiar with any Republican governor being chastised for taking free money from Washington.

    What does Andrew mean by "if it works as it should"? Does he mean if it becomes a de facto single payer?

  2. This is the second expression of surprise about Sullivan's comment I've read today. I gotta say – I'm surprised at the surprise; this is the first thing I thought of when I read about the opt-out idea, and I thought this is why it was generally well-received by the left. It didn't occur to me that anyone considered it a good idea on its own merits (not that it isn't, I have no idea), and what I really expected was that Democrats meant to use it as a scare tactic to push back at uncooperative moderate Republicans. I can't imagine the kind of political pressure a Republican statehouse would come under if they opted out while State-next-door opted in, and with every effort to do so they would inflict more damage to themselves and the whole idiotic narrative they rely on to argue against health reform. I'm honestly astonished that we might actually end up with this really in the final bill. That's how it looks to my eye, anyway, but I can't claim to have any special strategic sense.

  3. As I understand it — the Republicans are not going to vote for it anyway, but it gives cover to the Yellow Dogs to support it, because it transfers the decision to the governors and legislatures of their respective states. So the rest of the Dems in Congress are happy, and nobody back home can blame the senators and congressmen who voted for it: "Look, you're free to opt out if that's what you want."

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