Obamacare, or, a Reflection on the PPACA

President Barack Obama.

msnbc“If you’d told me five years ago that on March 23, 2015, the Affordable Care Act would exceed expectations on every possible metric, including reducing the nation’s uninsured rate by a third, I’d say ‘Obamacare’ would look like a great success. And fortunately for the country, that’s exactly what’s happened.”

Steve Benen

Perhaps it is the sort of detail that doesn’t get passed around enough, or maybe it just doesn’t seem important: Obamacare was a conservative idea.

It is a true fact that often gets overlooked amid the bluster and fury that seems pretty much all the GOP is worth anymore; the whole idea of forcing people to buy private insurance was a conservative scheme intended to fend off single payer. And, yes, it is fun sometimes to remind a conservative of this fact and then sit back to enjoy the spectacle of how many stupid excuses one will try.

Such entertainment brings no real benefit, though. As interesting as the idea might seem from afar, sitting through conservative excuses for what Republicans have done to themselves is something of an exercise in futility. That is, it might seem fun to sit by, egging Republicans on as they desperately rattle off fake fact after fake fact―did you know that Mitt Romney has always been a liberal? that Ronald Reagan never raised taxes? that Obamacare is a socialist plot?―but it is actually a tragic outcome we witness. Consider that the conservative argument against the PPACA includes calling Bob Dole―yes, that Bob Dole―a Nazi. There really is nothing about the conservative response to Obamacare that makes sense except in hindsight, when we pause to consider just how popular the alternate reality has become. Despite everything else, though, Republicans continue to hold the line; it was less than two weeks ago that Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) complained, “It’s time for the White House to stop celebrating and start thinking about the people”.

After everything else, they’re down to telling people there is nothing to see here, except, of course, for what they say is there and never mind the objective evidence speaking quite clearly otherwise.

Or, as Benen suggests:

Anniversaries are a good time to pause, reflect, and take stock, and when it comes to health care reform, objective observers are going to find it easy on the ACA’s fifth anniversary to appreciate the law’s triumphs. But it’s also a good time to take a moment to acknowledge those who told Americans exactly what to expect from the Affordable Care Act – and who got the story backwards.

We need not wonder why Republicans would prefer skip such a review.

____________________

Benen, Steve. “5 years later, ‘Obamacare’ critics can’t believe their lying eyes”. msnbc. 23 March 2015.

Ferris, Sarah. “Top GOP senator tells White House to ‘stop celebrating’ on ObamaCare figures”. The Hill. 11 March 2015.

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