Capitol Comments

The U.S. is at a rare moment in history when the window for changing how education works is wide open—and state legislators can be key players in how that transformation takes place, said Barbara Chow, education program director for The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

So what will the world of health care look like in 2025? According to futurist William Rowley, it’s probably going to be harder to find a family physician.

“In America, about 32 percent of all physicians are primary care,” said Rowley, a senior fellow at the Institute for Alternative Futures and a speaker at Friday’s Health Policy Task Force session. “In most countries on this planet, it’s about 50 percent. In Great Britain, 80 percent of physicians are in primary care.”

When Illinois Rep. Michael Tryon had a physical exam in 2004, his cholesterol level was good, he had a normally functioning thyroid and his long-term blood sugar level—also called an A1c—was normal. After his first year of service in the legislature, things had changed.

Walt Disney was right. It really is a small world after all—and it’s getting smaller every day.

When a natural disaster in Japan can put U.S. manufacturers in limbo due to a lack of parts, as happened earlier this year after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami, today’s generation of policymakers are realizing they need to be concerned about what’s happening across our national borders.

The advice Puerto Rico Gov. Luis Fortuño gave to policymakers about how to deal with the lingering budget crisis states are facing is similar to what one might say to a toddler trying to remove a bandage from a skinned knee.

“… Do it quickly, swiftly and go as far as you need to go in year one,” he said during Sunday’s lunch session, “Preview 2011: What’s Ahead for State Government.” “Don’t stretch this pain. Just do it as quickly as you can.”

Fortuño is no stranger to fiscal pain. When he took office in 2008, he...