Stray Links for 24 September 2013

by Reihan Salam

Avik Roy makes the case for narrow provider networks:

So insurers will compete to offer the lowest price, by contracting with the doctors and hospitals who charge them the lowest fees for treating you. “The networks will be narrower than the networks typically offered to large groups of employees in the commercial market,” said a spokesman for Cigna.

This is, in general, a good thing. Unlike government-imposed price controls, these contracts are voluntary. If doctors don’t like the fees that insurers are talking about, they don’t have to participate. If insurers think doctors are asking too much, they can take their business elsewhere. This is the essence of market-based transactions.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page goes hard on “the Cruz campaign against Obamacare.”

Lane Kenworthy and Timothy Smeeding have released a new report on income, consumption, and wealth inequality in the United States.

If Carrie Budoff Brown and Glenn Thrush are right, it seems that Barack Obama’s 2008 opposition to an individual mandate was entirely strategic.

Nicole Gelinas offers a plan for rescuing the New York city transit system.

Henry Fountain reports on the potential virtues of timber towers, tall buildings built primarily of wood.

Jake Blumgart’s report on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s push for subway construction in the city’s dense suburban neighborhoods is particularly worth reading in light of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s decision to get behind the effort. Right-of-center voters in Toronto see subways as vastly preferable to light-rail systems, which threaten to reduce the amount of surface area devoted to roads. And the new subway expansion will greatly improve service in low- and middle-income ethnic minority neighborhoods in which the Conservatives hope to make gains in the next federal election. 

Robert Poole of the Reason Foundation has a new report calling for the Interstate system to transition away from fuel taxes and towards per-mile tolls as a revenue source.

The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.