Having failed to persuade 26 states that participating in ObamaCare is a good deal, the liberals behind the law are denouncing these dissident Governors as federalist hypocrites. A few critics on the right are chiming in and arguing that the 26 are inviting worse results once the feds swoop in.

So someone ought to say a word on behalf of the people who run state governments in the real world and have examined the health insurance “exchange” question in detail. They’ve seen enough to know that the choice to set up and run these insurance bureaucracies is not a choice at all.

The “federalism” ruse is a special instance of bad faith. If federal-state cooperation means anything, then it requires some element of genuine state control and the freedom to innovate. The Health and Human Services Department is abusing the laboratories-of-democracy line as cover even as it prohibits states from doing experiments. And it’s dictating details down to the lab coats and microscopes.

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