Tuesday, July 18, 2006

MedPol: some of the good and bad of the Fletcher administration

Bo links a nice article featuring his papa's role as a policy wonk, rather than a politico, in KY governor Ernie Fletcher's administration. It's good to hear about sensible, results-driven policy work on the other side of the aisle (or either side, for that matter). The article mentions some KY medicaid reforms of which I am entirely ignorant, but I emailed to see if I can get some more info.

As far as I can tell, the simplest way to sum up conflicts between conservative and liberal economics is that liberals want to split up the pie evenly, and conservatives want to make the pie bigger, figuring that there will be enough to go around for everybody, and some leftovers (whether it matters if everyone gets a piece or not is a moral question not necessarily addressed).

But with something like the internal management of Medicaid, essentially the size of the pie is fixed. Management becomes a matter of optimization, of getting the most bang for the buck, the greatest good for the greatest number of folks. Market principals become tools to make those things happen rather than ideals to which to aspire. That's number-crunching and policy work, not necessarily politics. And that's the point where I feel comfortable posting about an article hopeful of the work of even the most arrogant Republican administration.

My understanding of Cowgill's work is obviously superficial at best; I know some friends doing advocacy work with leftist orgs were highly critical of the tax reforms mentioned in the article Bo cites for not doing enough to update KY tax laws that were horribly out of date. However, it's also noteable to say that those tax laws became absurdly out of date under the watch of multiple previous Democratic administrations that did little to address tax fairness in Kentucky. So whatever failings may have been present in KY tax reform, it seems like there was a lot less being done by Paul Patton and Brereton Jones and Co long before Fletcher's crew was faced with the task.

In an administration of so much unadulterated jack-assery, I'm happy to be able to link to some good things going on back home in the Bluegrass.

1 comment:

Bo said...

Thanks for the link and kind words! Replying to your email soon. ~Bo