Ponnuru provides a reality check to Republicans:
Conservatives and Republicans in Washington — activists, strategists, politicians — are increasingly embracing a theory about Obamacare: It’s going to collapse of its own weight, and its failure could yield a sharp right turn in the 2014 and 2016 elections. That theory is probably wrong, and dangerously so. To be rid of Obamacare, Republicans will have to do more than just wait for it to go away — and more than they have done so far.
And they’ll have to say that those pilot cost-controls in the ACA may be starting to work in lowering costs. Ramesh wants Republicans to come up with a real alternative to the ACA:
Republicans’ confidence that Obamacare will collapse has contributed to their lassitude in coming up with an alternative. It is a perverse complacency. If the program were going to collapse in the next three years, it would be all the more important for Republicans to build the case for a replacement for it. We can be sure that the Left would respond to any such collapse by making the case for a “single payer” program in which the federal government directly provides everyone insurance.
Congressional Republicans have not reached agreement on what should replace Obamacare, let alone a strategy for enacting that replacement. The best option for replacing Obamacare would be a plan that made it possible for almost everyone in the country to purchase catastrophic insurance (and possible for most people to buy insurance that goes beyond catastrophic coverage) by removing the obstacles that government policy puts in the way of that goal.
Chait doubts that coming up with an Obamacare alternative would benefit the GOP politically:
Republicans have wisely decided to attack Obamacare without committing themselves to an alternative because the alternative would be easy to attack. Ponnuru, for instance, suggests changing the tax code and stripping regulations to create “a market in which almost everyone would be able to purchase relatively cheap, renewable insurance policies that protected them from the risk of catastrophic health expenses.” Telling tens of millions of Americans they’ll lose their insurance that covers basic medical expenses and get bare-bones policies with thousands of dollars in deductibles is not a winning play.
I don’t dispute Chait’s analysis – but wouldn’t it be great if the GOP and politics in general were not that cynical all the fucking time?