Thanks for the emails. A couple of other points. I don't see this is as a "big government" proposal, because the government won't be running hospitals or providing insurance. It's just mandating that everyone get an insurance policy. Is it a function of "big government" to mandate getting a driver's license? I like the Massachusetts plan precisely because it avoids big government, while dealing with public goods. It's also a practical, incremental plan, based on existing arrangements, but expanding and developing them - quintessentially conservative, in the Oakeshottian sense. It's not a product of a rationalist, Ira Magaziner think-tank master-study, foisted on the unsuspecting world by High Priestess Rodham.
I also like the fact that it's a consequence of one state, dealing with its own issues. Funny how the best reforms come from the states, isn't it, by people who know their own communities better than anyone else? The current GOP is anti-federalist, because it's become a religious party, and such a party naturally resists devolving power to states that may be more secular than Tom DeLay's version of God would like. But conservatism in the old sense was not afraid for Massachusetts and Alabama and California to try out different solutions, because conservatism in the pre-Bush years was not a primarily religious force. The good news is we'll find out in due course how this works in one place before others take it up. I'm also struck that this plan is a product of divided government. In the 1990s, national divided government gave us welfare reform and a balanced budget. Subsequently, one party government has given us massive debt, immense corruption, and a huge expansion in federal power. There's a lesson here. And it's: "Vote Democrat This November." Unless, of course, your specific Democratic candidate is intolerably bad, or your existing Republican is extremely good.
Update: More useful commentary here.