Monday, April 2, 2012

ACA and the constitution

Thanks to Will Wilkinson for writing a thoughtful post on a point I have wanted to make for some time, which is that I do not see how there is any distinction between the government forcing me to buy good G from firm X, and the government taxing me and then buying good G from firm X or, for that matter, producing good X on its own.

I worry, too, that the conservatives and libertarians who are pushing the line of argument that being forced to buy and being forced to pay so that the government can buy are somehow distinct things get done doing their victory dance, assuming the supremes strike down the law, as I think they will, they will have pushed us towards a much worse alternative: muddling through with the current incoherent public private regulatory mishmash until the next time the blue team gets a big win, at which point we will get a single payer system and be very sad indeed. In my more optimistic moments, we instead have a couple of decades of useful federalist experimentation with alternative models at the state level. Let's hope, but I am not optimistic.

Addendum: the people at reason are less worried than I am, but I think they are discounting the many non-trivial problems with the current set-up.

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