The Corner

On Medicaid, It’S Sanford & [a] Son

With many a Republican governor straying off the anti-tax and pro-market path lately, it’s gratifying to see that some are still following through on their promise of advancing reform in the state capitals. Two in particularly deserve commendation on the thorny, frustrating issue of reforming Medicaid, which is one of the most cost-drivers in federal and state government and now, if I’m not mistaken, more costly to taxpayers than Medicare.

Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina is pushing a plan called South Carolina Medicaid Choice. It would make tax-funded health savings accounts available to participants, from which they would purchase health care coverage and even pay deductibles and copays through a debit-card swipe. He’s following the lead of Florida governor and K-Lo heartthrob Jeb Bush, whose plan was signed into law last month. It essentially voucherizes part of Medicaid and allows participants to build balances in flexible spending accounts by getting rewards for healthful decisions about smoking, diet, and the like.

You have to move skillfully and gradually on Medicaid, now the linchpin of the state-administered welfare system in the U.S. Sanford and the fiscally conservative Bush son are showing how to make progress. You can read more about it in a new piece from the Chicago-based Heartland Institute. Now the question is: what’s Mitt Romney done on the issue lately?

John Hood is a syndicated columnist and the president of the John William Pope Foundation, a North Carolina–based grantmaker.

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