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Do Conservatives Have Good Health Care Ideas?

The Wall Street Journal editorial page attacks the Obama administration's proposal to speed up the date by which states can opt out of the Affordable Care Act structure and create their own health care plan. Why? Because the plan requires that, to receive a waiver, states must hew to "the same liberal priorities." Those priorities:

Any state that the Administration decided deserved a waiver would still need to cover the same number of uninsured, and its coverage would still need to include the same comprehensive benefits and be as "affordable" as the Administration says it should be.

(Excellent WSJ use of scare quotes around "affordable," by the way.) It's true that the administration requires that any alternative cover as many people at the same level. The mere fact that conservatives object so strenuously is all you need to know. It exposes the lack of workable conservative ideas that don't simply involve denying people fairly basic coverage.

Consider this part of the Journal's argument:

The reality is that the liberals who wrote this bill really do think they have a monopoly on good ideas, and they do not include markets. Democrats are more than happy to give the states more freedom, as long as the states use it to impose comparable government control. That may be why we hear that White House.

Again, there's nothing in the bill that forbids innovative uses of markets. Indeed, the bill sets up a workable individual health insurance market that does not currently exist. The Journal is admitting that "markets" and "freedom" simply mean denying basic coverage to people who can't afford it on their own.