The Right’s Opportunity in Health Reform

Repeal nonsense aside, it seems to me that conservatives should really be hoping that Obamacare works really really really well. After all, if it turns out that Obama has succeeded in creating a stable, workable version of the individual market for health insurance then that would open up a politically realistic approach to the longstanding conservative idea of privatizing and voucherizing Medicare. That would essentially entail treating 68 year-olds the same way Obama proposes to treat 58 year-olds.

Right now, that’s a political non-starter. 68 year-olds like their socialized medicine just fine, and 58 year-olds want to keep it in place for them to start benefitting from it soon. And the individual health insurance market is a disaster for older people. But if Obamacare can make it work, then expanding its vision to include senior citizens starts to look plausible.

Conversely, if Obamacare is plagued by certain kinds of problems that could renew political pressure for things like Medicare buy-in or the creation of a new public option.