A new report from the Urban Institute details what every honest adult already knows: Obamacare is the most successful new government program since Medicare and Medicaid.
In states that have fully implemented the law, the uninsured population has been cut in half. Tens of millions of Americans have been covered and about 14 million of them were uninsured before.
Health spending is now predicted to be $2.4 trillion lower than estimates made Obamacare became law. We can’t say that all was the result of Obamacare — but we can say that if it were predicted to be $2.4 trillion higher, Obamacare would get all the blame.
A few conservatives have transitioned from their religious conviction the program couldn’t work, would bankrupt and would cut the uninsured to “Duh, of course it works” but it’s bad because it does what every advanced country on earth does — expand coverage for the middle class, generally raising efficiencies and lowering costs, by taxing the rich.
If Obamacare continues down this path, we’ll end up at the inevitable end of every American success — Republicans claiming credit for it — sooner than later. The 2012 election will be recast as an election Barack Obama won only because he stole Mitt Romney’s one productive contribution to public life.
But we face two hazards that could seriously derail this remarkable success.
In its ruling for King v. Burwell, Supreme Court could easily gut the law and tell the states to fix it — even though Republicans have made it clear they will not fix it. Arizona just passed a law promising to let the residents who could be denied subsidies in a ruling for the plaintiff suffer.
Presidential candidate Scott Walker has made a point of saying that he will do nothing to help his states residents. And is there anyone alive who imagines he’ll blow his primary campaign by helping to save Obamacare?
Republicans will deny millions coverage and expect to pay no political price because that’s exactly what’s happened with Medicaid expansion. They’ll be punishing actual middle class workers in this case. But it’s a risk they’re willing to take given their party’s approach to apostates.
This leads to the second and greater hazard. The belief that Obamacare should be repealed is largely unpopular but among GOP primary voters, it’s a priority on par with sainthood for Ronald Reagan.
Republican presidential wannabes are outbidding each other for how many people they can uninsure.
Marco Rubio is leading the pack with his “market-based” system that covers 80 Floridians. Obamacare, on the other hand, insures 1.6 million in Florida alone.
If a Republican manages to get elected in 2016, a possible horror of astonishing magnitude that we must never erase from our minds, the internal party pressure to undo the law by any means necessary will be impossible for any politician to resist.
At least one Tea Partier wants you to get your government paws of his Obamacare. And he might even vote for Hillary to protect his own well-being. And it’s possible that this could be a positive for Democrats as they focus the public on the GOP’s agenda — un-insuring lots and lots of people who really need it even though that make drive up our debt.
But we should never underestimate Republicans ability to convince people to vote against their own interests.
About a billion dollars has been spend demeaning this law and there’s still no comparable substantive, sustained effort to describe the good it actually does. As a result the law is still unpopular.
Democrats haven’t even picked up the Republican habit of using a uniform description of the law. Remember the “job-killing” stimulus — another successfully smeared yet remarkable success, which has helped transform how we produce energy. I’d suggest calling Obamacare “life-saving” every chance you get, because it is.
Lives are on the line as the two last big battles to save this law will be fought.
So to put what’s at stake in context, be sure to point out that the GOP is as wrong about Obamacare as they were about the Iraq War. And the lies they’re using to hide that fact could costs us thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, again.
And it’s also important to remember the real reason the Republican elite opposes Obamacare. It’s the same reason, they oppose everything: “Our richest people don’t want to, because it would reduce their wealth somewhat.”