Obamacare has been discussed only sparingly on the GOP campaign stump during this cycle, and I’m not quite sure why. By any market measure of success, it has failed before our eyes. Insurance companies are leaving the marketplace left and right because regulations render their businesses unsustainable. Even if we ignore the market element, we see failure elsewhere. People have not been able to keep their own doctors and health plans as promised, and they have also seen their individual freedoms attacked by the law’s demands.
Democrats point to the several million people who have now gotten insurance because of the act as evidence of its notable success. By all means, if the ACA was passed in order to insure more people and to do that alone, it has been a success, because that has been about the only positive benefit. It certainly has not made the healthcare payment system any more efficient.
To answer the title’s question: yes, the ACA needs to be repealed and replaced. Doing so is no easy feat, as Republicans have seen in their fifty or so attempts to undo the law. Thankfully, despite the difficulty, many Republican congressmen are showing resolve by working to create an alternative to President Obama’s signature, and inefficient, legislation.
Republican congressmen have recently returned to discussing a replacement plan. All of the proposed alternatives seek to engage the vast majority of consumers in a market approach, which, though considered immoral by so many on the left, is truly the most efficient system. Many people will also be eligible for tax credits, which have great potential to be more efficient, by being more simple, than the ACA’s current refund policy.
Perhaps the most important element of Republican-proposed alternatives is the individual focus. Conservatism stresses individual freedom, and conservatives therefore want people to be as uninhibited by government as possible in making choices of all kinds, but particularly, in this case, regarding the kinds of healthcare and services they want and need.
Having more Americans insured is a noble goal, and I commend Democrats for their efforts in reaching this goal. I urge conservatives to articulate that we seek the same goal, but that it doesn’t have to be sought at the expense of market efficiency and individual freedom.