So what to do?
Two competing visions have been offered by leading conservative health care analysts. Manhattan Institute scholar Avik Roy has introduced a provocative new universal coverage plan that – if it worked as advertised – would be clearly superior to Obamacare in all of its particulars: it would lower premiums, cover more people, save taxpayers trillions, and do so without an individual or employer mandate.
Roy believes his plan would “transcend Obamacare,” and therefore could potentially gain Democratic support and clear the 60 vote hurdle in the Senate. But Democrats have shown no willingness to act on anything related to Obamacare, blocking dozens of House-passed bills making even minor changes like restoring the 40 hour workweek.
Even if Republicans take control of the Senate, few if any Democrats are likely to support a plan like Roy’s that moves future retirees off of Medicare and into reformed Obamacare exchanges. So the plan accepts the premise universal coverage as a goal for a perceived benefit of political pragmatism that is unlikely to materialize.
Robert Graboyes of Virginia Commonwealth University is also sharply critical of “repeal and re-place,” but from a very different perspective. The problem with repeal and replace, he points out, is that it “assumes some enlightened Congress and president can muster the wisdom, altruism and ability to reinvent one-fifth of the economy. One new law would sweep away the old and fix the problems that preceded it” – a criticism that also applies to Roy’s plan with its system of universal coverage through exchanges.
Americans are more distrustful of grand plans than ever before, and they are increasingly skeptical of the idea that it’s the federal government’s job to guarantee health insurance.
Obamacare has created a backlash among the public that gives us an opportunity to smash the premise that guaranteeing health insurance is a proper function of government, and instead focus on getting the incentives right for more innovation and individual choice and better health outcomes.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.