Beltway Breezes; Lawmaking, Federalism, Bipartisanship

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 18, 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Beltway Breezes; Lawmaking, Federalism, Bipartisanship


Byline: Gary Andres, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Can states tackle a national problem that has stymied federal officials in Washington for years? Maybe, but there is an ironic twist when it comes to providing health coverage for more Americans. With respect to the uninsured, some believe the odds of state success may increase with a little help from the federal government. It's an idea worthy of experimentation. And that's exactly what a bipartisan group of senators and congressmen intend to do by introducing the Health Partnership Through Creative Federalism Act.

Yesterday, Democrat Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Republican Sen. George Voinovich of Ohio, along with Democratic Reps. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and John Tierney of Massachusetts, and Republican Rep. Tom Price of Georgia introduced bipartisan legislation encouraging states to develop creative methods to cover the more than 45 million uninsured Americans. The measure potentially unleashes dozens of new local and regional-level approaches to address the issue of the uninsured, and it would test the efficacy of these new programs using states, to borrow a phrase from former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, as "laboratories of democracy." It encourages local officials to tailor health care reform programs to their own populations and needs, allowing policy-makers to evaluate which approaches work best, which fail, and why.

The legislation is significant for what it could do to help cover the uninsured, but also because it captures the new breezes blowing over Washington's policy and political landscape.

For those closely watching policy-making in Washington over the past decade, it represents a welcome return to principles of new federalism. Following the 1994 election Republicans talked a lot about devolving power to the states. Yet that rhetoric and the policies to back it up waned in many ways to the GOP's detriment. As Republicans consolidated power in Washington by reelecting majorities for five congressional cycles since 1994 and then capturing the presidency in 2000 and 2004 using new federalism as a strategic and integral part of the GOP platform stalled in word and deed. Republicans traditionally criticized Democrats for believing only Washington held the prescriptions to cure our domestic policy ills. For the past decade Republicans became infected with this same inside-the-beltway disease.

Governors have been the political equivalent of Nobel Laureates in these laboratories of democracy, boldly experimenting with new ideas.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Beltway Breezes; Lawmaking, Federalism, Bipartisanship
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?