The State Policy Network is a collection of state level think tanks promoting Conservative ideas at the state level. The network includes many of the best free market think tanks in the nation including the Acton Institute and Goldwater Institute.
For the most part, SPN is a valuable resource for the free market community.
The one catch with The State Policy Network is that the organizations in the network exist to influence state policy; as such the entities end up arguing policy from the state perspective instead of the free market perspective.
For example, during the health care debate a group proposed using a "State Compact" to battle PPACA. The State Compact would regulate health care instead of the Federal Government.
This creates a false dichotomy: Should the health exchanges be run by a State Compact or by the Federal Government?
A State Policy Think Tank that answers that the exchanges should be regulated by a State Compact has just given tacit approval to the health exchanges.
What really needs to happen is for think tanks to challenge the health exchanges (which they failed to do.)
Common Core is another great example of state network policy failure.
Common Core is like No Child Left Behind. This is a Federal program that regulates schools through standardized testing. NCLB transferred a great deal of local control to the Federal Government.
Many people who were upset with NCLB ended up supporting Common Core which is similar in design, but is run by an Association of Governors. The question is: Should education centralization be controlled by the Federal Government or by the State Governments. A state's rights advocate would support a Governor's Association when the real question is: should we need centralized control of the curriculum?
Getting back to health care, State Policy Institutes approach health care from the perspective of state policy.
I contend that this very perspective is backwards.
I contend that health care is a business problem and that we need to find business solutions.
(NOTE: The etymology of "business" is "busyness." It means that that which keeps one busy. By business, I am referring to individual occupation and not corporate activity).
So, what I've been trying to do with the Medical Savings and Loan is to create a new business model for funding health care. (Again, by business, I mean individual business and not just another huge corporation).
This program starts with the mantra: "Those who can self fund their care should."
To help people self fund care, I create a structured savings program supplemented with a loan reserve. The savings accounts plus loan reserve will help those people who can self fund their care achieve this objective.
The program effectively identifies the people who cannot.
I create a generously funded grant program for people who cannot self fund their care.
This program helps the people who can self fund their care do so. It creates a huge pile of money for people who cannot self fund their care.
By starting with a business solution, I end up minimizing the state's role in health care.
This leads to a general rule of health care. If the health care debate starts with the role of the state in health care, the debate will result in a huge state.
If the debate starts with business at an individual level, the debate will end up with a system that minimizes the role of the government in health care.
The trap of the State Policy Network is that the entities in the network approach discussions from the state policy view.
Even when entities favor free market solutions, state policiy institutes can end up supporting less than optimal solutions for health care. Some institutes, like Utah's Sutherland Institute, get so caught up in the state policy perspective that they become openly hostile to real free market reform.
This creates a problem for me. To have a truly authentic debate about free market health care reform, one needs to create a new entity to explore health care reform from the individual business level.