Another Go-Round on the Mandate

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Simon Lazarus defends his claim that “Ryancare” contains mandates that are indistinguishable from Obamacare. On the main point of contention, I am not sure there is much more to say. If you can’t see the difference between giving someone a tax break for taking out a mortgage on a house and ordering him to take out a mortgage on a house, nothing I can say will change your mind. If you can’t see the difference between taxing people to provide Pell Grants that can be used toward the purchase of a good supplied by the private sector and ordering people to enter a contract with a college, I can’t make you see it.

Two more points. First, Lazarus only partially acknowledges his biggest error in his original article: He confused one Ryan plan for another, and then issued a correction that softpedaled the mistake while not doing much to fix the original text. Second, he completely misunderstands a comment I made. I didn’t attack his argument (with “fervor” or otherwise) by saying that it was “amoral”; I said his argument assumed an amoral view of the law, which is a wholly different matter.

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