Yuval Levin, writing at National Review Online:
In today’s Washington Post, Fareed Zakaria offers an unusually stark example of the left’s basic conceptual error in the health-care debate. Arguing (correctly, I think) that the core problem to be solved is the problem of controlling costs without undermining quality, he insists that centralized coordination and control is the only effective way to do so and that conservatives are therefore barking up the wrong tree when they look to markets for help.
Zakaria begins by getting the conservative approach wrong. He writes: "Republican alternatives to Obamacare, such as Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan, don’t bother with expanding coverage, which is a mistake because they leave in place a broken insurance model in which people can freeload."
Actually, Paul Ryan’s alternative to Obamacare—the Patient’s Choice Act—proposes an enormous expansion of coverage. Among other things, it would transform today’s tax exclusion for employer-provided coverage into a capped universal health-care tax credit, which people could use to buy coverage or care regardless of their circumstances. A similar proposal by John McCain in the 2008 campaign was projected to reduce the number of uninsured Americans by roughly 21 million. Over time the effect would likely be even greater than that since this system would create an enormous incentive for insurers to offer attractive low-premium plans that could be purchased for the amount made available by the credit (simply put, neither consumers nor insurers would leave billions of dollars on the table unclaimed, and the enormous competition among insurers for that money would yield appealing options). So while it wouldn’t always involve insurance as comprehensive as Obamacare would require, it would be likely to get us closer to universal access to health insurance than Obamacare—and without the kinds of violations of individual liberty, the Constitution, and the laws of economics involved with Obamacare.
Whole thing here.