Is the Individual Mandate Hayekian?

February 15th, 2013

One GMU Economist says it is.

“He would have been in favor of mandates,” George Mason University philosopy professor Erik Angner tells Reason’s Nick Gillespie. “The first thing to know about Hayek is that he was actually for redistribution,” continues the author of 2007’s Hayek and Natural Law.

In a controversial Politco op-ed published in 2012, Angner wrote that while Britain’s National Health System and the price-rigging elements of Obamacare violate Hayekian principles, creating an individual mandate and giving poor Americans some amount of money to spend on health care as they see fit does not. To Angner, vouchers for health care would function similarly to vouchers for education, helping to create stronger market forces and spurring the sort of competition that would lead to a more efficient and robust system.

“You can be for markets without being against redistribution,” says Angner, who argues that Hayek thus offers a true alternative to contemporary liberals and leftists on the one hand and libertarians and conservatives on the other.