Over Stated: Why the “Laboratories of Democracy” Can’t Achieve Universal Health Care

Source: Ezra Klein, Washington Monthly, July/August 2007

It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system,” Justice Louis Brandeis once mused, “that a single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Well, quite. These days we practically expect the states to try their hand at fixing tricky national problems before the federal government steps in. So to many observers, when several states recently turned their attention to providing health care for the uninsured—one of the thorniest domestic problems of all—it looked like cause for considerable optimism.

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