Announcing The DeLong Club

My main contention about the healthcare system in the United States is that the main problem/opportunity is a lack of bottom-up, consumer-driven innovation.

Many economists, wonks and pundits have over the years advocated the idea that the way to have bottom-up innovation in healthcare while also achieving social justice goals is through the medium of health savings accounts (HSAs). A portion of your income every year would be put on such an account, which you would use to consume healthcare services.

HSAs aren’t perfect*, nor is any healthcare system, but many people who understood the trials of healthcare reform as encouraging both fairness and innovation thought that HSAs should be part of any healthcare reform.

This has become important now, of course, because of the healthcare reform act, which takes a centralizing approach to reform the healthcare sector, and basically sees no role for HSAs. I believe this is a grievous error.

The idea of HSAs is chiefly associated with the political Right in the US, but over the years countless economists, wonks and pundits associated with the political Left have advocated HSAs as a way to reform the US healthcare system. One of the most prominent is Berkeley economist and superblogger Brad DeLong.

As the ACA rollout moves from trouble to trouble and as the Right inchoately stumbles and gropes towards some sort of alternative proposal, I think it behooves people of good will on both sides of the political divide to think in good faith about positive reforms to the healthcare system.

THEREFORE, inspired by Greg Mankiw’s Pigou Club of “economists and pundits who have publicly advocated higher Pigovian taxes, such as gasoline taxes or carbon taxes” I am starting the DeLong Club, an elite group of Left-wing economists and pundits who have advocated health-savings accounts as a part of healthcare reform.

Here’s the list I’ll start with:
- Brad DeLong
- David Goldhill
- Dylan Matthews
- Matt Miller
- Jason Furman (Hat tip to Michael Hendrix )

I’m sure there’s more. Give me nominations (with sources, preferably).