The Corner

The Left’s Single Payer Fantasy

If the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare, will the result be, as some liberals are consoling themselves, a move toward single payer? In a word, no. Or so I argue in Bloomberg View.

[L]et’s say the court strikes down the mandate, but leaves in place the insurance regulations. The regulations without the mandate would lead healthy people to drop their coverage — the insurance rules mean such people would be able to get it again if they get sick — and with only ill people covered, premiums would soar.

The question then becomes: Would Congress be more likely to respond by moving to single payer or by getting rid of the regulations?

We have seen just this scenario play out in a number of states that imposed similar regulations without any mandate. Iowa, Kentucky, New Hampshire and South Dakota have all repealed their regulations, while Maine, New Jersey and Washington State have weakened theirs. Only liberal Vermont, according to a study conducted by America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group, has moved toward single payer.

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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