John McCain is talking health care today. He launched a new ad, and delivered a speech on the subject earlier this morning. I intend to have more later, but it strikes me as the typical mixed bag for conservatives. Reforming the tax code to extend tax benefits to individuals who purchase insurance on their own rather than merely through there employers and allowing for the purchase of healthcare across state lines are all positive developments. But I thought the speech lacked a clear unifying theme, and came off at times as a laundry list of proposals. I’d like to learn more about his plans to combat chronic disease through improved health and fitness, because such ventures can easily devolve into creeping nanny-statism. It was also very frustrating to sit through a conference call following the speech in which McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin tried to make a free market case for the re-importation of Canadian price controls on prescription drugs. McCain simply doesn’t seem to understand that by effectively putting price controls on drugs in the U.S. market, it will stifle innovation. The big picture question is whether McCain plans to engage Democrats on health care throughout the campaign, or whether it will it be like last fall, when he gave a big speech on health care, then stopped talking about it.