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Supporting a public insurance option has meant rejecting the free market for many liberals looking to reform health care. But are there free-market-friendly ideas to the Democratic plan? Two conservative pieces make cases.


  • Less Regulation: Forget State Lines, says an editorial in The Wall Street Journal. "Affordability would improve if consumers could escape states where each policy is loaded with mandates." According to The Journal, allowing inter-state competition is much more feasible than the public option. "It is no secret that this page is all for competition in the marketplace. If indeed that's the goal, allow us to suggest a path to it that will be a lot easier than erecting the impossible dream of a public option."
  • The Consumer Knows Best, writes Caroline Baum at Bloomberg. She says that with a Health Savings Account, "it's your money to spend or to save. Those who can't afford to buy insurance would receive some form of government subsidy." And like The Journal, Baum wants to see consumers be able to buy insurance across state lines. "Those who prefer their health-care reform the free-market way envision an on-line mart where individuals can shop for an insurance plan, across state lines, offering the same tax advantage as employer-based coverage."

Paul Krugman isn't buying it. No surprise here. In his column in The New York Times today, Krugman questions why the unchecked free markets of Reaganism and are still in vogue even after they have failed. "Remember how lower taxes on high incomes and deregulation that unleashed the 'magic of the marketplace' were supposed to lead to dramatically better outcomes for everyone? Well, it didn't happen."

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