Republicans need an Obamacare alternative now more than ever

Though opponents of President Obama’s healthcare law were once again let down by the Supreme Court on Thursday, the legal challenge to the law’s federal exchange subsidies still had at least one positive consequence — it got Republicans talking about healthcare alternatives.

In the lead-up to the decision, there was a flood of different ideas from Republicans on healthcare policy. Some on the Left dismissed this flurry of activity as a cynical attempt to convince the justices that Congress would avert chaos if they struck down the subsidies, and in the coming months, Republicans will show whether the cynics were right.

Had the justices declared the subsidies illegal, it would have given Republicans a head start in dismantling the program, and transitioning to a market-based system. Now, they have a lot more work to do.

This fall and in the fall of 2016, millions more will enroll in health insurance through Obamacare, creating facts on the ground that will mean any Republican alternative would displace more people. Industry, too, will have had several more years to adjust their business models around Obamacare as the status quo.

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