Justin Owen

Rather than repeat this painful history on a cataclysmic scale, several states are considering reforms that would actually fix Medicaid. The best approach comes from Florida and has been copied by other states. Florida’s Medicaid reform uses choice, competition, personalized plans, and real accountability to create a Medicaid program that is pro-patient and pro-taxpayer. Patients are happier and healthier and at some of the lowest per person costs in the country.

States are also taking control over other issues that Washington has wrecked, such as energy policy. While the Environmental Protection Agency is on a crusade to cripple America’s energy independence, states are pushing back. There are currently more than a dozen lawsuits between the state of Texas and the EPA resulting from the agency’s brazen disregard for the state’s authority to regulate its own energy and environmental affairs.

Education reform is another issue that has gained legs in the states after the federal government’s decades long “soft bigotry of low expectations.” Dozens of states have recently welcomed charter schools or bolstered their existing charter laws, and the recent election brought about two more significant victories for charter school advocates in Georgia and Washington. More and more states are enacting large-scale school choice programs to empower parents, not bureaucrats or politicians, to choose the schools that are best for their kids.

Indiana just enacted the nation’s largest school choice program, which could eventually give more than half the state’s families educational freedom. Louisiana has followed suit with a large school choice program of its own, and proposals in other states like Tennessee are on the horizon.

Despite the gridlock that was just returned to Washington, the looming political battle in this country will not be Republican versus Democrat. It will be the states versus the federal government. It will be real innovation and true reform versus the status quo that has failed us time and again.

State leaders must seize the opportunity—and responsibility—to push back against a reckless federal government hell bent on national destruction. States possess the ingenuity, capacity, and accountability necessary for long-term answers, three aspects you’ll find conspicuously absent inside the Beltway. It’s time for us to put our stock in the states, returning power to where it can be wielded effectively and where it rightfully belongs.

Justin Owen

Justin Owen is the president and chief executive officer of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan research organization dedicated to providing concerned citizens, the media, and public leaders with expert empirical research and timely free market policy solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. He has helped usher in comprehensive tort reform, assisted in the repeal of collective bargaining by teachers’ unions, and worked to end Tennessee’s death tax.