I’m starting to believe Senator Hatch doesn’t read my stuff

Senator Hatch believes that the 1996 welfare reform provides a useful model for health reform. I’m beginning to believe that he doesn’t read my work.

I’m not sure why. (Perhaps this is the reason why, or maybe this, or even this.)

As Julie Rovner reports, he wants the states to lead on health reform. As Hatch puts things,

A truly workable health care reform would be modeled on the bipartisan and highly successful welfare reform of the 1990s, which took ideas from the states . not just Washington . and gave them considerable flexibility to operate their own programs.

Jon Chait notes that states already have great flexibility under the Affordable Care Act. There is every reason to believe that states will get even greater flexibility in the years ahead.

Some of this flexibility is good. Yet a block grant framework of the sort embodied by the 1996 welfare reform is a terrible model for health reform. It offers Republican governors some short-term political benefit. In the long-run, it imposes huge risks on the states, and is unlikely to save states money.

But you already know that, since you read this and this.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

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