Although it is reasonable for Republicans to wait for next month's Supreme Court ruling before they proceed on health care, a strategy of providing no replacement for Obamacare whatsoever would be very unfortunate. It would mean that Republicans are pursuing a similar strategy on health care to the one Democrats are pursuing on the budget. We have repeatedly criticized Democrats in this space for not offering a long-term plan to reform entitlements and balance the budget. Their cynical strategy is to avoid doing anything, so as to keep a free hand to attack Ryan's budget proposal. And that is quite similar to what Republicans are doing on health care -- offering vows to repeal Obamacare as a substitute for real health care solutions.
Even if Obamacare is wiped off the books entirely, America's health care system will remain as dysfunctional as it was before the bill passed. Conservatives must not shy away from fixing it the right way, or else Democrats will surely pass another misguided, government-based health care bill within a generation. Skyrocketing medical costs must be fixed over the next several decades if there is ever any hope of reining in entitlement spending and putting the nation on a sustainable fiscal course.
Even before Obamacare, there was no free market for health care in this country. About 94 percent of Americans with health insurance get it either directly through government, or through their employers, who benefit from a tax subsidy. All others must suffer tax disadvantages and navigate an individual market riddled with regulations that drive up the cost of insurance.
The inequality in the tax code is only the very start of what conservatives must fix to move the nation toward a market health care system in which choice and competition drive down costs. But a specific proposal fixing it would be an important start.
With the Ryan budget, Republicans boldly branded themselves as the party offering real solutions to the nation's pressing problems. It's time they do the same with health care.