The Ripon Forum

Volume 0, No. 0

Oct - Nov 2007 Issue

A Note from the Chairman Emeritus

By on November 11, 2015 with 0 Comments

States have been called the laboratories of our democracy. They’re places where policy experiments are carried out. If the experiment is successful, the lessons are often applied nationwide.

When California voters approved a ballot initiative known as Proposition 13 in the late 1970s, for example, they were not only voting for a Constitutional Amendment that limited property taxes in the state, they were also setting the stage for the tax cuts Ronald Reagan enacted nationwide a few years later.

Similarly, when Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson signed into law a bill that reformed his state’s welfare system in the early 1990s, he was not only enacting a piece of legislation that required people to work in order to receive a government check, he was also setting the stage for similar reforms that would be approved for the rest of the country later in the decade.

In this edition of The Ripon Forum, we look at another policy experiment being carried out in the states. In this case, though, there is not just one experiment underway – there are many. Across the Nation, Governors and State Legislatures are exploring ideas and pushing policy proposals intended to address what polls indicate is one of the top domestic concerns of the American people – health care.

We anchor our coverage with the experiment being pursued in California, where the State Legislature is meeting in Special Session to consider the health care reform plan being pushed by Governor Schwarzenegger. We take a look at this plan – the good and the bad. We also look at what other Republican Governors are doing to strengthen health care in their states, and also consider an important question in all this – is reform even needed?

This edition of the Forum also includes an article about the Medicare Prescription Drug program by Gail Wilensky, who headed up Medicare in the first Bush Administration and offers her expert assessment of how well the plan is working nearly four years after its enactment.

We are also very pleased to feature a Q&A with University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato, who discusses his new book on “A More Perfect Constitution.”

As always, we hold you enjoy this edition and welcome your feedback.  Please e-mail us at with any thoughts, comments, or ideas you may have.

Bill Frenzel
Chairman Emeritus
Ripon Society

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