Second: Is it politically viable to replace Obamacare with a plan that significantly reduces the number of Americans with health insurance? Republicans would have to campaign on a plan that could fairly be described as taking health insurance away from many millions of people — not just failing to extend it to them — win on that platform, and then get it through Congress. The unlikelihood of this happening is exactly what the Left has been counting on to keep Obamacare in place. The Left believes that conservative principles can’t be applied in a way that yields coverage for everyone who wants it. Conservatives have to decide whether they agree.
This argument could matter before the next election. The Supreme Court is considering a challenge to Obamacare’s insurance subsidies in a majority of states, and might strike them down. Republicans could then move to let the affected states replace Obamacare with a better, freer system: one in which people used tax credits to buy insurance on an open, deregulated market rather than having to accept the insurance products Washington, D.C., has designed for them, and one in which a large number of consumers draws in new entrants and sharpens competition. Republicans would then be roughly even with Obamacare on coverage numbers while beating it on cost and coercion.
Or they could decide that they don’t care about coverage numbers, and gamble that not many voters will either.