Philip Klein reminds Republicans in a new Washington Examiner column that their health care reform proposals need to extend beyond just repealing ObamaCare.

The lack of emphasis on free-market health care reform ideas in Congress — and up until this point, in the GOP presidential race — cannot be fully blamed on politicians, who can only be expected to play to their audiences. Conservatives at the grass-roots level have been quite vocal about the need to repeal Obamacare, and Republican politicians have responded. But activists have not been very vocal in calling for alternatives.

Conservatives get fired up about issues such as taxes, guns, and judicial appointments, but they see health care as a squishy topic. Historically, the Right has become passionate about health care policy only when it comes to fighting liberal attempts to expand the role of government (as during the Clinton and Obama presidencies).

This attitude is a mistake, because conservatives’ neglect of health care policy virtually ensures future increases in government control.

Even before Obamacare passed, the United States did not have anything close to a free market for health care. The repeal of Obamacare will not create a system in which individuals have more choice over how to spend their health care dollars. Rather, this will require proactive steps to unravel the layers of government policies that distort the market and drive up costs.