Alex Massie

Obama & The Competitive Principle

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I'm not qualified to offer an opinion* on Obama's health care speech last night. So I won't, beyond observing that his refusal to countenance the possibility that the kind of reforms he wants don't involve any trade-offs of any sort was, even by Presidential standards, unfortunate and, frankly, enough to make one suspect that there's something missing. But it's healthcare, Jake. You know?

However, I did like this line:

My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition.

True! But if this true of healthcare why isn't it also true when it comes to education? Obama's reluctance to embrace the cause of educational reform is one of the more disappointing aspects of his Presidency so far.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, the situation is reversed: the Tories have some interesting and principled ideas for reforming education but are terribly reluctant to apply those ideas and principles to the National Health Service. As education is to Obama, so the NHS is to Cameron: broken - or at least under-performing - but too dangerous to risk fixing.

But see, inter alia, Ezra Klein, Megan McArdle, Mickey Kaus and Jon Cohn if you want reaction from people who both know and care about this stuff.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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