AEI Endorses ObamaCare

American Enterprise Institute scholar J. D. Kleinke, writing in the Sunday New York Times, makes “The Conservative Case for ObamaCare”:

[T]he mandate that we all carry health insurance [is] an idea forged not by liberal social engineers at the Brookings Institution but by conservative economists at the Heritage Foundation…The mandate is about personal responsibility — a hallmark of conservative thought…

[A health insurance] exchange is as pro-market a mechanism as they come: free up buyers and sellers, standardize the products, add pricing transparency, and watch what happens. Market Economics 101.

The problem with Kleinke: He doesn’t seem to realize that every other conservative think tank in the country has followed the lead of the NCPA and the Cato Institute on health care.

For why we don’t need a mandate in order to have universal coverage see “Characteristics of an Ideal Health Care System.” For what’s wrong with health insurance exchanges, see “Is Managed Competition the Answer?

Comments (11)

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  1. EJ says:

    “The problem with Kleinke: He doesn’t seem to realize that every other conservative think tank in the country has followed the lead of the NCPA and the Cato Institute on health care.”

    You’re criticizing him for not falling in lockstop with prevailing conservative ideology? So much for independent thinking. You may disagree with him, but ripping him for not hewing to the party line is not a very persuasive critique.

  2. Mabel B. McCarty says:

    Everyone has their own ideas..

  3. Devon Herrick says:

    Usually it’s Democrats who are fond of pointing out that many of the tenants of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) were supported by Republicans, but then oppose by Republicans when they are touted by Democrats. For instance, presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, suffered repeat attacks from his GOP primary opponents for supporting RomneyCare, which many consider the forerunner of the ACA.

    It’s somewhat surprising that J.D. Kleinke, a respected health economist and self-styled Health Care Futurist makes a similar argument. His two assertions: that the Affordable Care Act is similar to the health proposal Romney supported in Massachusetts; and the liberal advocates for a government takeover of health care do not support the Affordable Care Act are not particularly convincing evidence that the ACA is free market. Although it accurate to say that some of the tenants of the ACA were (at various times) supported by some Republicans, the ACA does not conform to anything that remotely resembles a free market plan — a counterpoint made by Cato’s Michael Cannon in an opposing commentary.

  4. Ender says:

    I believe I understand his personal responsability example. However, I’m a bit confused on how he manages to explain that MANDATORY health exchanges are “pro-market”.

  5. Robert says:

    I rather enjoyed this:

    Clear away all the demagogy and scare tactics, and Obamacare is, at its core, Romneycare across state lines. But today’s Republicans dare not own anything built on principles of economic conservatism, if it also protects one of the four horsemen of the social conservatives’ apocalypse: coverage for the full spectrum of women’s reproductive health, from birth control to abortion.

  6. Alex says:

    Intellectuals should have a problem with both Romneycare and the ACA for one simple reason: they won’t work.

  7. seyyed says:

    very interesting to say the least

  8. Alice says:

    The failure of ACA is the failure to return market prices.

    Other reforms with a mandate might be able to accomplish this.

  9. Dr. Steve says:

    Mandate personal responsibility? I’m confused. is pro market as they come? Standardized? Pro market maybe, just not free market.

  10. Jordan says:

    +1 Ender. I must have missed that day in econ 101..

  11. Lucy Hender says:

    You can’t have “mandatory” and “pro-market/free market” in the same sentence. It’s a contradiction.

    Definition of pro-market by an online dictionary: An economy that operates by VOLUNTARY exchange in a free market and is NOT PLANNED or CONTROLLED by a central authority.