What Pot Legalization Could Teach Obamacare

All politicians, activists, and
citizens contemplating transformative reform to the status quo
should look for pointers in Colorado’s end to pot prohibition. When
the worst headline you can find about the end to pot prohibition is
that some dispensaries have run
out of weed
 (overstated, but we’ll get to that), you know
that reformers have pulled off something pretty exceptional.

Lesson number one is to start small. Colorado is not just the
first state to allow commercial sales of recreational pot
(Washington state will open its own market later this year), it’s
relatively small and isolated, thus making it a perfect laboratory
for this experiment. Other states can watch and learn and figure
out the best way to adapt Colorado’s (and Washington’s) experience
to their own situation. As the designers of Healthcare.gov could
tell you, going all-in before various options have been tried and
beta-tested is almost always a really bad idea.

That’s part of my latest column at
Time.com’s Ideas page
. Other lessons include using markets (the
freer the better) and decentralizing decisionmaking to the
individual level whenever possible. That includes giving
individuals the right to opt out of reforms. Had Obamacare not
revolved around the individual mandate (and forced Medicaid
expansion until the Supreme Court struck that down), it might have
done a better job of increasing coverage and keeping costs in
check. As it is, some 30 million Americans won’t gain coverage
under the president’s universal coverage reform.

Colorado’s pot legalization regime is far from perfect, but it
offers up serious lessons that are worth considering.

Read the whole thing here.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/08/what-pot-legalization-could-teach-obamac

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