Over at The Weekly Standard, I have a new article up with National Affairs editor Yuval Levin on the importance of health care reform to the 2012 election:
The outlines of … reform have been clear for some time. What’s needed is a functioning marketplace in health care, with cost-conscious consumers seeking and finding more value for their money. To get there, the government must stop subsidizing excess in all of the major health care settings — Medicare, Medicaid, and employer-sponsored plans. Instead, the government should provide fixed levels of financial support toward insurance and care that patients can control. The government would oversee the marketplace, but resources would be allocated based on consumer choices and preferences.
This reform would bring costs under control and head off the impending fiscal crisis. But it’s not simply a fiscal reform. It would also transform American health care for the better. Health care and insurance providers would have to become far more efficient and productive to avoid losing market share to competitors, and they would be forced to focus on the needs and desires of patients, not government payers.
For Republicans committed to maintaining a vibrant and free society, there is no choice but to make genuine health care reform the centerpiece of their domestic agenda. If the health care debate is lost, then the fight for limited government is lost as well.
That means that the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare and to fix our health care entitlements must be well underway by 2013. And that, in turn, means that a Republican president must be elected in 2012 having run on a platform of real health care reform. For those who aspire to be that Republican president, the time to develop that platform is now.
Read the full article here.