In the current effort to reform Obamacare, Republicans are missing a huge opportunity.

The one really good (and really amazing) thing about Obamacare is that the Democrats put a cap on future Medicare spending. This was not a ten-year cap. It goes on forever – essentially restricting Medicare’s growth to the growth of the economy. According to the Medicare Trustees reports, the day Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act he wiped away more than $50 trillion in unfunded Medicare liability.

Republicans should have praised this result and offered to work with Democrats to hold Medicare to its cap — something that will be almost impossible without fundamental health reform. Instead they ran scare-the-elderly ads in the 2010 elections and retook the House. The next year, Paul Ryan proposed a budget that promised to cut Medicare even more than Obamacare did. As Ryan explained to me at the time, “we can’t let the Democrats spend less than we propose to spend.”

See the graph in this Wall Street journal editorial I wrote at the time with Tom Saving (a former Medicare Trustee).

The Affordable Care Act also put the same cap on future subsidies in the exchanges. This is something that should be of interest to liberals who think there is no limit to how high those subsidies can climb.

In the current effort to reform Obamacare, Republicans are missing a huge opportunity. They are proposing a cap for Medicaid that is lower than the cap the Democrats imposed on Medicare. And they are proposing a cap for the tax credits that is slightly lower than what the Democrats imposed.

Had they chosen the exact same cap the Democrats imposed on Medicare and had they offered to work with the other party to reform health care so that these caps might actually work, they would not be so vulnerable to charges that they are mean and heartless.

See more on this at the post I have written with Tom Saving today at Forbes.

John C. Goodman is President of the Goodman Institute and Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute. His books include the soon-to-be-published updated edition of Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis, the widely acclaimed A Better Choice: Healthcare Solutions for America, and New Way to Care: Social Protections that Put Families First. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the “Father of Health Savings Accounts.”