As the Affordable Care Act turns two today, the Serious Village Types are contractually obligated to inform us that it was the worst piece of legislation ever conceived and that President Obama is the worst politician of all time for wasting time trying to get GOP votes for the bill, and then going it alone without them, assuring they would vow to destroy the law.
We are assured that everyone hates the bill, left, right, and center, despite the fact that elements of the bill are popular (particularly the parts involving coverage for pre-existing conditions and keeping kids on insurance plans to age 26.) But at this point I think Republicans have vastly overplayed their hand on it for three reasons.
One is MetamorphoMitt. The one thing from his past that he can’t shake away is MassCare. Two, the GOP really can’t stop themselves from twirling their collective evil mustaches when doing things like voting to kill the Medicare cost review board while complaining that Medicare costs too much. The other is the GOP assault on women’s rights, which is seriously driving away voters of both sexes.
All of these are going to seriously put a dent in the amount of damage the Republicans can do in November. And call me crazy, but I think the Supreme Court may punt on the law until 2014 because the mandate isn’t in effect yet, and precisely because the GOP has done zero to replace the law should it be struck down, there’s a fair argument that nuking the law would be a massive burden for the states and for individuals. Indeed, the government’s argument is that without a replacement set of laws, the entire health care system itself could be at risk if the mandate is severed.
Meanwhile, the parts of the law that are going into effect are working slowly and surely behind the scenes, and the law is rolling inexorably forward. I think we’re going to be okay here.
[UPDATE] Sarah Kliff over at Ezra’s House O’ Wonk has a detailed rundown of the changes already made by the law.