A Compelling Alternative to Obamacare

by Ed Whelan

While the Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of Obamacare, it’s an opportune moment to remember that Obamacare is not the only way to reform health care. 

If Obamacare is thrown out, in whole or in part, by the Court, the country will be far better off because the field will be cleared for a reform plan that will actually fix the problems in American health care instead of exacerbate them. (To be clear: I’m not arguing for such a Supreme Court ruling on this basis; I’m simply noting the tremendously favorable consequences that such a ruling would have.)

My EPPC colleague James Capretta has provided the blueprint for such a plan in an essay in a National Affairs magazine (edited by another EPPC colleague, Yuval Levin). He and his co-author, Bob Moffit of the Heritage Foundation, describe policy changes that would establish insurance protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, slow the pace of rising costs, and cover the uninsured—all without coercive mandates or unaffordable federal spending commitments. The key is to change federal policy so that the marketplace in health care can work as it should.

Yuval outlines essentially the same plan in his excellent Weekly Standard essay on what the Romney campaign should be saying on health care and other matters of importance to voters.

Thus, the choice for the country is not Obamacare or nothing. (The pre-Obamacare status quo has too many problems for it to provide a stable equilibrium.) The choice is between the government-centric approach of Obamacare, which will bankrupt the government and erode the quality of American medicine, or a reform plan that delivers improved insurance security and higher quality health care, too, through a decentralized marketplace in which consumers call the shots.

Obamacare has to go, one way or another. Sound health-care reform can’t be implemented so long as Obamacare remains in place.

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