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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hints of a Shift Back to Federalism?

In the US Senate race in Massachusetts between Scott Brown and Martha Coakley, there was some resistance to the proposed federal health care legislation. This pushback was in line with reinvigorating a federal system for the United States.

Several independent voters said they wanted to elect Mr. Brown to block the health care bill being considered by Congress.  They denounced the US House and Senate bills as full of deals for special interests — though several said they thought Massachusetts’ law extending near-universal coverage, one of the models for the national bill, had been largely a success. “It’s not perfect, but why should we have to pay again when we have health care?” said Ms. Grenham, who works as a physical therapist.

That it is easier for a state government than the federal government to legislate on something like healthcare is no accident; the founders designed the US Government to be cumbersome precisely so most of the domestic legislating would be done by the state republics, which are closer to the people.  Hence Massachusetts has close to universal coverage while the majority of Texans might want to pass.  One size does not fit all in a heterogeneous empire-level Union.  For the US Government to go beyond its enumerated powers to duplicate what is already in Massachusetts would be to demonstrate the folly of consolidation and the related fallacy that every political unit in a federal system must have the same policy.  Although I firmly believe in universal coverage as a right rather than a privilege, I respect the right of the people of, say, Texas, to disagree and have a republic without it.   Such tolerance is necessary to a viable federal system.  Too many people imposing their agendas far from home must surely end in consolidation, which entails duplication where state governments are not already impotent.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/18/us/politics/18massachusetts.html?ref=politics