Last week Chait dug up on old Ronald Bailey column which endorsed mandatory health insurance. Bailey fires back and asks Chait to examine the rest of his proposal:

BaileyCare would enable all Americans to purchase health insurance in a national competitive private market. It would completely eliminate Medicaid and S-CHIP (and possibly even Medicare) and use those funds to provide vouchers to poor Americans helping them to buy private insurance in a competitive market. It also would completely delink insurance from employment; it is a consumer-driven plan that combines high-deductible catastrophic insurance with health savings accounts with the aim of using market competition to rein in health care expenses. Vouchers also mean that there would be no need for tax penalties to force people to buy insurance.

Balko piles on. They're right. It's possible to create a system which both has a mandate and is also highly free market in structure and design. In an ideal world, I'd prefer it to Obamacare. But the GOP has never fully endorsed such a plan or tried to propose it when it had control of the Congress. Oddly enough, I think a commitment to universal access to healthcare and the kind of radical free market approach favored by Bailey would have had real political potential - if its vouchers were generous enough for the poor to afford it.

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