by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
James Capretta explains in a National Review Online column why Republican presidential candidates’ health care policies need to extend beyond opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
No one is expecting miracles here. What’s underway is a political campaign, not an academic conference at a Washington think tank. The candidates are not expected to know everything about health-care policy, or even to write lengthy and detailed plans for reform. In fact, there’s a good reason to avoid getting too specific: Specificity creates convenient political targets for adversaries to exploit.
Still, the Republican candidates must understand that generalized denunciations of the evils of the ACA are not going to be enough in 2016. The ACA will be in its third year of full implementation of its major provisions as the presidential campaign shifts into high gear, and the media and most of corporate America will be parroting the argument of the Obama administration that the law is working as intended and therefore should not be rolled back. Further, there will be many millions of people receiving new subsidies for health insurance because of the ACA. That alone creates powerful momentum in favor of the status quo. In this environment, the burden will be on the Republican presidential candidate to make a compelling case for what is wrong about the law and why an alternative vision for reform would be better for the country.
That won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible. A majority of the electorate is still more than a little wary of Obamacare, and open to hearing convincing arguments for moving in a different direction.