Left and Right Agree to Disagree

After an embittered presidential election, a never-ending kabuki on Washington finances, and now a fierce debate over property rights, many would be surprised to know that members from opposite sides of the political spectrum have found some common ground. Betsy Woodruf at National Review Online sure was. She was shocked to find agreement between the Republican Governor of Illinois, Mitch Daniels, and Tom Dickenson of Rolling Stone magazine regarding medical marijuana and federalism. Both, it seems, favor letting the states determine their own drug policy, even though they may not agree on what each state ultimately decides.

First, note that agreement between the two parties happens more often than not. In principle they all agree on war, debt, entitlements, taxation, police statism, drones, the central bank, socialistic healthcare, prohibition, and many other issues. Of course they disagree on just how much debt there should be; if the military ought to bomb the people of third-world countries or drop bombs and machine-gun them; and whether individuals should forfeit 35 percent of their income or only 33 percent. Some diversity of thought.

But what’s noteworthy about this particular case is that each can agree because neither is trying to force the other into submitting to a single policy. Here we see one of the great things about decentralized government: it tends to reduce conflict by allowing various groups to “live and let live.” This is isn’t possible when all policy decisions are made by one body, when a polity becomes too big.


Tennessee Bill Would Ban Obamacare Medicaid Expansion

MedicaidExpansionEven though the 2013 legislative session in Nashville has yet to kick off, Senator Brian Kelsey has already pre-filed the first bill of the 2013 session that would prohibit the implementation of the Medicaid expansion provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

While the Medicaid expansion was ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, ultimately many governors and state legislatures are still considering complying with the now optional provision.

SB 0001 would prohibit the state of Tennessee from expanding the state Medicaid program, more commonly known as TennCare, under the auspices of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The text of the bill simply states:

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, the state shall not establish, facilitate, implement or participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program pursuant tothe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148, as amended.

The bill is likely to first be referred to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.  Unfortunately the committee assignments for the legislators in the 2013 session have not yet been released.  Once this has been released, the information will be posted here.


Wisconsin Takes the First Step to Nullify Obamacare


Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, recently extended the deadline for states to set up their own healthcare exchanges. Despite the extra month, the final state tally is 25 yes and 25 no. Governor Walker’s “No Thank You” letter added to the sizable pile of rejection slips on the Secretary’s desk.  The percentage of states denying a state exchange equals another key statistic.  The latest Rasmussen poll shows 50 percent of Americans favor a full repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Gov. Walker’s spokesman cited cost as one of the main reasons for the state‘s refusal. Estimates show an operational cost of between $45 and $60 million for the exchange annually beginning in 2015.  Minnesota’s exchange has already exceeded cost estimates by 35 percent prior to implementation. Additional estimates show Minnesota taxpayers seeing another 18 percent rise in the first year of operation.



The Doctrine of Equal Footing of the States

The Doctrine of the Equality of States, (also called Equal Footing), is based on Article IV, Section 3, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which says:

“New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.”

Additionally, since the admission of Tennessee in 1796, Congress has included in each State’s act of admission a clause providing that the State enters the Union “on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.”