Republicans seem to understand that repeal of President Obama’s health care law is necessary. Unfortunately, many of them seem to think repeal is sufficient as well. It isn’t. This is why it’s so important that a GOP leader like House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., began presenting a viable plan to replace it with his speech Tuesday at Stanford’s Hoover Institution.

The big problem afflicting our health care system is skyrocketing costs. The Kaiser Family Foundation reported this week that in 2011, premiums for employer-based health insurance shot up 8 percent for individuals and 9 percent for families over 2010. As Ryan noted in his speech, “If you look at our debt-and-deficits problem, it really is a health care spending problem.” Health care spending accounts for 25 percent of the U.S. budget (excluding interest payments), and within decades that number will grow to 45 percent.

“Instead of top-down price controls imposed by 15 bureaucrats at IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board),” Ryan said, “let’s try bottom-up competition driven by 300 million consumers.” Ryan calls for a uniform tax credit for everyone to purchase health insurance. This would immediately end several problems created by the prevailing employer-based insurance system, which offers fewer options, traps many Americans in jobs they would rather leave and causes many to over-insure themselves. For government health care programs, Ryan expanded on the plan he outlined in his House-passed budget, which promotes greater freedom and flexibility than Medicare or Medicaid currently offer.

Ryan’s speech is a start, but he shouldn’t stop there. America is ready for this change now, and Ryan’s colleagues need a detailed plan to rally around.

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