The Bobby Jindal health-care crusade that could shape 2016

One Republican alternative plan, first unveiled last year but re-introduced for this Congress on Thursday by Sens. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., does lean on the current Obamacare baseline. And it includes a tax increase on employer-based health insurance that helps finance generous subsidies for low-income Americans to purchase coverage.

But Republicans have another option. They could wipe out Obamacare completely, return tax and spending levels to where they would have been if the law had never passed, and build a free market alternative from scratch. This is the approach that Jindal favors and that he took when he released his own healthcare plan last year.

Going this route would mean that Republicans couldn’t spend much on subsidizing health coverage, opening them up to attacks that they’re stripping away Obamacare without offering a sufficient life raft for its beneficiaries. Jindal argues that Republicans shouldn’t fall into the trap of competing with Democrats on coverage totals and that they should instead focus on reducing costs.