NYT Article: Opposition to Health Law Is Steeped in Tradition

David Leonhardt's piece yesterday in the New York Times on health care is spot on. The debate over "expanding the social safety net" has raged since the Great Depression, Leonhardt says. But every step we take in getting closer to ensuring a quality of life for everyone, brings us closer to prosperity. 

Leonhardt writes: 

 

Without the mandate, the cost of insurance in the individual market would rise, perhaps sharply, because some healthy people would not be paying their share. Just look at Massachusetts. In 1996, it barred insurers from setting rates based on a person’s health but did not mandate that individuals sign up for insurance. Premiums then spiked. Since the state added a mandate in 2006, more people have signed up, and premiums have dropped an average of 40 percent. 
 
It sounds like a contradiction, but getting everyone on a health insurance plan really does mean lowering the cost of insurance. American capitalism would have you believe that competition lowers rates, but clearly that hasn't been true. 
 
Again, Leonhardt points out: 
Those guarantees give people the freedom to take risks. If you know that professional failure won’t leave you penniless and won’t prevent your child from receiving needed medical care, you can leave the comfort of a large corporation and take a chance on your own idea. You can take a shot at becoming the next great American entrepreneur.
 
This is where the dichotomy of American laissez-faire and "progressive traditions" can meet to invigorate our economy. It's the yin and yang of what makes us a great country. 
 
What other seeming dichotomies do think have the potential to actually work together?