Sources within the Obama administration are saying that according to their data, their goal of enticing 7 million Americans into the Affordable Care Act’s various health exchanges — both federal and at the state level — was reached at the buzzer so to speak.
Yesterday was the deadline — though since the administration extended the deadline as a courtesy to those who had started the process by the March 31st deadline it was more of a “soft” deadline than a firm one — and the White House is seemingly confident they hit their mark thanks to a last minute surge that many who followed the ACA’s genetic cousin’s implementation in Massachusetts by a certain mega-rich Republican who was the governor of the state at the time kept predicting would come. There’s even better news within the headlines of hitting that 7 million mark in that officials are seeing the demos shift to a slightly younger set, which would be great news for everyone interested in seeing Obamacare truly succeed; young people’s buy-in and participation are vital to controlling costs.Indeed, it appears that yet another right-wing talking point about Obamacare — that no one wants it — has been shown to have the same level of accuracy as say “unskewed polls” or “stand down orders.”
But not to worry, fans of Republican conspiracy theories, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has ridden to your rescue. Barrasso flat-out accused the administration of “cooking the books,” because you know, the sinister liberal agenda to get people hooked on the government. Oh wait, I mean the conspiracy to get people addicted to the private market place by way of tax subsidies that are largely paid for not out of the taxpayer’s pockets but the very insurance companies themselves. Because you know, we liberals are always trying to get people hooked to more corporate cash, right?
To my untrained eye, I see another big, big story in the Obamacare deadline surge story, and it relates directly to the mid-term election this November. The GOP has tried to knock the ACA down every chance they get, and they’re always getting help from the media who loves to a fight. You can’t watch a Sunday flapping jaw program or turn on any of the cable news outlets — except MSNBC of course — without hearing how much the country hates Obamacare in the polls. Of course, once you split up the various reforms and regulations into their own questions, people start overwhelmingly supporting it, just not as a whole package deal. Because a lot of Americans apparently don’t get how comprehensive reforms work.
Clearly though, Obamacare is far more popular, or at the very least far more enticing to Americans than Republicans will ever admit. They keep telling TV host after TV host that they’re going to hammer the Democrats in November thanks to how much people hate Obamacare. I have no doubt that a lot of people do indeed hate Obamacare. After all, it has that Kenyan Muslim Communist Sharia Law Enforcer’s name in it, right? So at least 20% of the law must be directly related to worshiping Saul Alinksy and Karl Marx, right? However, it’s also very clear from the surge in sign-ups that many people really were just invoking the good ol’ American tradition of procrastination.
What’s going to happen all the way as we lead up to November is that voters in states with governors that at least embraced Obamacare enough to help the poorest in their states get access to health insurance through Medicaid expansion will continue to push the enrollment numbers up. This will bring out more horror stories, of course, but it will also keep putting success stories in the news.
Frankly, my own family’s situation was improved slightly by the ACA, but we are one of the millions of families who are going to depend on the increased sign-ups to drive our premiums down, so we have a vested interest in seeing the ACA succeed, if for purely selfish budgetary reasons. So it’s possible that a family like mine, which got coverage through Obamacare that wasn’t completely affordable — it forced us to rethink our budget to make space for the new premium payment — will change their tune on Obamacare over time as the rates do get pushed down while more and more Americans sign up, though that may really come into play a few more election cycles from now.
In the immediate sense though, clearly the ACA is not as unpopular or despised as the GOP wanted everyone to believe. Of course the news that the Republicans have been cherry picking polling data and outright lying to create a narrative will shock everyone reading this, but it needs to be stated. They are full of shit. They are full of epic shit, and their hatred of Obamacare will be their further undoing this November. If voters are seeing the ACA start to work — even if it still has glaring holes that need patching — they will not stand for one political party working to dismantle it.
People want to get health coverage regardless of preexisting conditions. People want to get free yearly screenings that we are coming to find out are absolutely integral to finding illnesses — sometimes life-threatening illnesses — early. People don’t think women should have to pay more for their health coverage simply because they are possessed of a vagina. People don’t want to see their fellow Americans plunged into permanent, crippling debt because an accident or unforeseen terrible sickness besets their household. All of these things are not just possible with the ACA, they are mandated by binding law.
It’s of course entirely possible that the sign-ups could mean nothing. There’s a chance that the whole law will buckle because of the red state efforts to choke the life out of its vital reforms for the poorest of the poor, but I just don’t see it going that way. Myself, I’m still desperately clinging to the hope that in my lifetime our country will wise up and take a look at any of the dozens of developed, advanced nations in the world that have adopted a truly socialized medicine program and do the same here in the U.S. However, since I’m not in the habit of holding my breath until I asphyxiate, I have to buy into the ACA for the good that it does, and I feel that many progressives will join me in that sentiment. Add our voices to those whose lives truly have been transformed by Obamacare, and you get a wholly different outlook on this November’s election than is being painted right now.
In the end, liberals and progressives should encourage Republicans to embrace their hatred of the ACA fully. Why? Because all the ACA has to do is succeed in some fashion and the Republicans will be run over by not just Democrats and progressives, but by moderates who’d rather have our crappy health care system patched up to work better than to go back into the Capitalistic Dark Ages. Remember, the GOP is pinning their rhetoric to the most doomsday of scenarios, that the ACA will be a flaming, stinking turd and we’ll see it really soon, too. So if Obamacare does fail miserably, sure the Republicans would clean the Dems clocks come November, but if its even a moderate success the GOP will suddenly not only the party of regression, but they’ll be the stupid party who couldn’t even get behind an idea that they themselves came up with and implemented successfully in Massachusetts, and that is the stuff of political party catastrophes.
There’s some real change, and a bucket load of hope to boot.