Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Propositions - a Recap

As far as I know here are the results of the propositions. I have a pretty long history in being disappointed in state proposition results, but the reality of it is that I win some and I lose some and this year is no different. So, let's go down the line one by one:

Prop. 106

This proposition amends the state constitution to make it possible for for someone to pay for medical services in any way they prefer without having to pay a fine. I totally understand why this passed, but its not clear to me what the consequence of passing it will be. There will be definite conflicts between the language in this proposition and "Obamacare" passed by the federal government and there's enough ambiguity in the proposition, lawsuits are probably the only way to sort it all out. My feeling is that this proposition will waste some state funds but not result in any substantive change to our health care environment. I don't think Arizona has the authority to arbitrarily overrule what the federal government does. Conflicts will have to be decided in the courts.

Ultimately, I still believe people don't fully understand the need for mandates. If people really want to restrict insurance companies from denying those with preexisting conditions or to limit coverage or kick someone off their rolls based on their actuarial models, then by virtue of this restriction, they are essentially insured regardless of whether or not they pay a premium.

If you can wait until you are sick to enroll and still be covered, you were insured. Removing a mandate allows someone to free-ride.

And in essence, we have this ability to free ride right now, at least to some extent. How many people really want to live with the consequences of a society without mandates? Do you want to prove you can pay before being admitted into the hospital or being picked up by an ambulance? Do you want to be refused cancer treatments because of inadequate insurance?

My feeling is this proposition will ultimately have little to no consequence other than giving some lawyers something to do. But Arizonans have a history of of this kind of silliness.

In fact there seems to be a larger disconnect with voters nationwide. We want a bunch of services but we don't want to pay for them. We want stuff for nothing which is why we have this massive debt, and we need to start electing politicians who will call us on this (I blame Reagan by the way :-) ).

Proposition 107, Proposition 113
Prop 107 bans state sponsored affirmative action; prop 113 maintains the legality secret ballot in union elections. First off, its almost high comedy that Arizona passed 107 especially when we may be on the verge of gutting our government to balance the budget. Do our state universities (universities that accept practically everybody) really even use affirmative action?

On 113, I don't get the feeling that our unions have much power in our state, so this proposition does little to change that. In my view, both of these propositions will ultimately have little consequence.

The Rest
The voters agreed with me on the rest that have been decided:

1) Hunting and fishing is not a constitutional right on the same level of speech, press, and worship (phew).
2) No lieutenant governor position will be established (the idea is a good one, but it needs more vetting to make way for independents to run in the general election).
3) And the voters rejected the states attempts to balance the budget by pulling funds from state trust lands and "First Things First."

By the way on failing to pass 301 and 302 we have essentially blown a hole in our budget a mile wide. Voting no on these propositions only makes sense if our politicians are willing to raise revenue through tax increases (something I support). But I'm not sure if the average voter realizes this.

Instead, it looks like we'll ultimately have to reject $7 billion dollars of federal aid, so that we can gut medicaid. Is our goal to drive both migrant workers and the poor out of our state?.

I hope this quote raises more than a few eyebrows:

"The budget is more than $800 million in the hole this year, with another $1.4 billion in cuts needed next year. If you cut all of state government, with the exception of prisons, DES, K-12 and universities and AHCCCS, you would save $820 million."

Those Still to be Decided
Of the three propositions still undecided, legalizing marijuana is the one I care the most about and I'm praying and hoping it fails.

No comments: