Now that Obamacare is essentially dead, it’s time to bear in mind one good thing about the health care bill-the discussion that it sparked. It galvanized conservatives and libertarians to speak out against a government takeover of one sixth of the economy and to vigorously propose real ways to fix health care. We may not have gotten our day on C-SPAN, but the town hall discussions and proposed alternatives (not to mention tea parties) spoke volumes. A forty first vote against the bill is a good start, but the issue should not be laid to rest. We would do ourselves a service to use this momentum to consider some of the free market solutions that would actually fix the problem. (To bone up on free market proposals, read Michael Cannon and Michael Tanner’s work here. Or, for a summary, go here.)

Opposition to the bill came to a head in the Massachusetts election. An Independent Women’s Voice poll showed that some of the main driving forces behind the election results were health care and disillusionment with Democrats.  From the poll analysis:

Among the greatest surprises in the data was the tri-partisan agreement that the status quo on

healthcare in Washington has been a failure: just 29% of self-identified Democrats, 8% of selfidentified Republicans, and 5% of self-identified Independents recommend Congress proceed full steam ahead and as-is.

Numerous reasons were cited for opposing the legislation. 51 percent of respondents were worried about how the legislation would affect the quality of their own healthcare,  41 percent disliked the lack of bipartisanship and 35 percent soured because of the loss of privacy of medical records.

Given the feelings about government run health care, the time is ripe to look for real ways to make health care more affordable and accessible. The best thing that limited government enthusiasts can do is to continue the discussion as fervently as we did when Congress was voting on the bills.

Attitudes towards big government solutions are changing, and people are realizing the extent to which government mucks up services that we want and need. Free market proponents should use this time to advocate for changes in our laws that don’t have to be hidden in a 2,000 page bill, and that actually work.