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Arizona Ballot Measure Protects Patient Choice

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

Proposition 101, an Arizona ballot measure that would prohibit the state from imposing health coverage mandates, "goes to the heart of the national health care debate," a Wall Street Journal editorial states.

The Journal writes, "Universal coverage plans, regulated by government, nearly always try to restrain costs by restricting the choices individual[s] can make," adding, "This assumes a uniformity in the real world of patients or the practice of medicine that simply doesn't exist, especially amid rapid developments in medical science." The Journal continues, "Allowing patients to choose their own medical treatment, get third or fourth opinions, or seek out experimental medicines saves lives."

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The editorial states, "The patient-clinician interface is one reason the U.S. remains a locus of medical progress," and "[e]nsuring this progress continues depends on maximizing patient choices." According to the Journal, "A publicly bureaucratized system will slow it."

The editorial continues, "Defenders of a government-run system, Barack Obama among them, insist they have no intention of limiting patient rights to choose health plans and doctors," but that is "belied ... by the strong opposition" to the Arizona initiative. The fate of the measure "is up in the air because its opponents, led by [Gov. Janet Napolitano (D)], are spending about four times more than supporters," amid concerns that "if health care choice passes in Arizona, it will spread to other states." The Journal concludes, "It is ironic the groups opposing the rights of Arizona citizens to choose their own health care purport to back a 'patient bill of rights,'" adding, "In what way is the freedom to choose one's care not a fundamental patient right?" (Wall Street Journal, 11/1).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.