… read the New York Times’ about health care in Hawaii, which has required employers since 1974 to provide good health care benefits for any employee who works 20 hours a week.
There have not been any serious efforts in Hawaii to repeal the law, although cheating by employers may be on the rise.
But perhaps the most intriguing lesson from Hawaii has to do with costs. This is a state where regular milk sells for $8 a gallon, gasoline costs $3.60 a gallon and the median price of a home in 2008 was $624,000 — the second-highest in the nation. Despite this, Hawaii’s health insurance premiums are nearly tied with North Dakota for the lowest in the country, and Medicare costs per beneficiary are the nation’s lowest.
Hawaii residents live longer than people in the rest of the country, recent surveys have shown, and the state’s health care system may be one reason. In one example, Hawaii has the nation’s highest incidence of breast cancer but the lowest death rate from the disease.
And speaking of progressive solutions to health care, read about a liberal congressman’s (Earl Blumenauer of Oregon) dilemma. Does he stand in the way of legislation that is far less than he wants in the name of Democratic Party politics?
Mr. Blumenauer is just one example of what might be called the Frustrated Left, a substantial caucus of Congressional Democrats who dreamed that Mr. Obama would usher in a new era of liberal problem-solving only to see Congress and the new administration collide with the old problems of partisanship, internal disagreement and the challenge of mustering 60 votes to get just about anything done in the Senate.
While Congressional leaders try to appease moderate and conservative Democrats who can provide the crucial votes for passage, more liberal Democrats from safer districts sometimes simmer, feeling that they are being taken for granted while it is assumed they will get on board when the time comes.