If Republicans get the chance to repeal and/or replace Obamacare, they need to take into account exit, voice and loyalty.
Where Obamacare seeks to prevent exit except for the politically well connected, a Republican plan should seek to maximize the opportunity for exit, an essential feature of any free market.
This probably can’t be done on the cheap. Current tax law provides an enormous preference for employer-provided health insurance, a preference whose benefit goes mostly to the affluent.
A freer market in health insurance means eliminating this tax preference, presumably through a tax credit for those purchasing health insurance on their own. That will cost real money.
Republicans also need to account for loyalty. People are not mechanical profit-maximizers; they may be reluctant to switch policies for only marginal possible gain. That means not including features that will phase out familiar employer-provided insurance rapidly.
And of course politicians should never plug their ears to voice, as the architects of Obamacare have done. That means avoiding things like the Obamacare regulation requiring contraception and abortifacient coverage. Let people decide these things on their own.
Those last eight words are what Democrats claim to be about, while they plan their top-down, one-size-fits-all, superregulatory schemes for every man, woman, child, and beast in the country. Turns out, people don’t like that very much. But are Republicans willing to embrace — really embrace — those eight little words?