Ira Stoll: Conservative 'Alternative' to Obamacare Misses the Market


Instead of shutting down Obamacare's insurance exchanges, the government should expand them so that they also include patients who now are covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and veterans health programs. That's the gist of a big new health care policy proposal that's getting a lot of attention. It's newsworthy in part because it's so counter-intuitive. It comes from a think tank, the Manhattan Institute, that's generally known for conservative, free-market, center-right policy ideas. You'd expect them to be in favor of repealing Obamacare entirely, not expanding it.

It's good to see the Republican side of the policy debate putting forth its own ideas for how to improve quality, reduce costs, and tackle the federal budget problems that relate to health care quality, writes Ira Stoll. But before they can successfully tackle the policy details the politicians and their policy advisers may need to step back and think some more about first principles.