Erik Angner, a philosophy professor at George Mason University, told Reason TV on Thursday that libertarian icon Friedrich Hayek would have supported the so-called individual mandate.
The controversial provision of Obama’s health care reform law requires uninsured Americans to purchase insurance or pay a penalty. Though Hayek famously condemned top-down government interference in the free market, Angner noted the economist and philosopher actually supported a form of universal healthcare based on mandates.
“There is a fairly bright line in Hayek’s work where he says governments are not allowed to interfere with the price system unless it is absolutely necessary,” Angner added. “Once governments start doing that, we’re on the road to serfdom. That is, there is a real possibility we will descend into someplace where we don’t want to be.”
That means the price controls in Obamacare “would be completely out of the question from a Hayekian perspective,” he explained. However, Hayek would have supported the law’s efforts to provide impoverished Americans with health care.
“What is consistent with the Hayekian vision, I think, is this idea that you can redistribute resources from people who have more of it to people who have less of it, and you can mandate people to purchase health insurance. Hayek does not spend a whole lot of time talking about this, but I think we can fill in the blanks,” Angner said, noting Hayek supported safety net programs and a guaranteed minimum income.
Watch video, uploaded to YouTube by Reason magazine, below: