A day doesn’t go by that I don’t see someone whining about how horrible Obamacare is, which is nonsense. Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was a horrible law. The Alien and Sedition Act is a horrible law. The USA PATRIOT Act is a horrible law. Obamacare isn’t perfect, but as far as these things go it’s a pretty good law.
It’ll make insurance more affordable for the poor, the middle class and the elderly, it’ll improve coverage for everyone because of the ban on pre-existing condition discrimination and the ban on total payout caps, it promotes private sector competition, and the thing is fully paid for.
Like the other two major pillars of the Great Society, Obamacare spending is fully funded and doesn’t add so much as a penny to the federal budget deficit.
It’s clear now that the failure won’t be the health care law itself, and it wasn’t ever going to be. It was the atmosphere of bullshit that surrounded it. The Obama administration did a poor job explaining its benefits, the media didn’t even try explaining how it’s supposed to work and why it had to be this way, and opponents were allowed to lie about it far too brazenly.
By now we should be in a situation where the law still has its opponents, but they should be made up of die hard free market advocates and little else. The facts of the law and preliminary roll out data just doesn’t support any other kind of opposition. 99% of the country should be in a “wait and see” mode, armed with a good idea about how this is all supposed to work, understanding that things are happening pretty much exactly as was predicted three years ago.
We knew three years ago that young adults who don’t want insurance were going to throw temper tantrums over having to buy it. What we failed to do was explain to them that you can’t ban pre-existing condition discrimination or get rid of insurance payout caps — two enormously popular provisions — without everyone buying into the insurance pool.
We knew three years ago that premiums in some states would be higher than others. Again, what we failed to do was explain that this wouldn’t have happened with the superior ideas of a public option, Medicare buy-in, or single-payer — it’s entirely the result of unregulated free markets deciding what prices should be. New York’s market with 16 insurance companies competing against each other are always going to have lower premiums that in North Carolina, where there’s only a single insurance company covering the entire state.
There are no horrible parts of Obamacare. The few drawbacks could easily have been prevented with more interventionist plans, like single-payer, but Obamacare barely became law as it is. There will be plenty of opportunities to make it better down the road, but it’s already going to significantly improve the health care system in America as-is.
Some of that is because our health care system was a piece of crap to begin with, but some of it is because there are ideas in this law that have been proved effective in dozens of other countries. Obamacare, if anything, is controversial outside of the United States because of how far it didn’t go. Only here in the US are people living under the delusion that it wen’t too far, or is somehow bad for all of us.
The only horrible thing about all of this is that we settled for something this tame when it could have been so much better.