Simple Explanations of the Good Obamacare News

obamacare is gonna live luckovitch
(Mike Luckovich via

For your forwarding-to-the-low-information-friends&family pleasure. Jon Chait, at NYMag:

For all the Sturm und Drang, implementing a successful health-care reform was not actually very hard, for the simple reason that the United States started with the worst-designed health-care system in the industrialized world. When you spend far more on health care than any country, and you’re also the only advanced democracy that denies people access to medical care, it’s incredibly easy to design a better system.

Obamacare has two basic goals. One is to reduce the explosive rate of medical inflation, and the other is to give all citizens access to medical care. Medical inflation is indeed falling much faster than anybody expected four years ago, to its lowest level in half a century. And affordable health insurance is now available — insurance companies can’t use medical underwriting to exclude or charge prohibitive rates to people who need medical care, and people with low incomes get subsidized. It would be great if lots of people took up the coverage, but the simple availability of it is the main goal.

The health-care system still has lots of problems, beginning with the 5 million poor Americans cruelly denied health care by red state Republicans. Compared to an ideal blue-sky health-care system, we still fall short. What’s beyond question is that Obamacare has effected a revolutionary improvement by its own standards…

The triumphs of Obamacare were designing a plan that could acceptably compensate the losers and generating the resources to cover the uninsured without alienating those with insurance. Designing and passing Obamacare was a project requiring real policy and political genius. Implementing it was easy.

And Professor Krugman, at his NYT blog, “What Eight Million Means”:

How did enrollment manage to surge so impressively despite the initial debacle of Obviously they fixed the website; but the broader issue, as Sarah Kliff rightly points out, is that being uninsured is truly terrible. Uninsured Americans really, really wanted coverage, and they weren’t ready to give up.

Kliff doesn’t make this point too explicitly, but this diagnosis has another crucial implication: the benefits of Obamacare, for all its imperfections, are immense. Millions of people who lived extremely anxious lives now have far more security than before. Compared with those benefits, the complaints of some already insured people that they have less choice of doctors than before, or that they’re no longer allowed to retain minimalist plans, look like whining. (And of course not one of the more serious-sounding stories about soaring premiums and all that has held up under scrutiny.)

And speaking of whining, the GOP response seems to be to make every possible insinuation to the effect that the numbers are somehow fraudulent. I actually don’t think there’s a game plan here; their whole position was premised on the inevitable collapse of health reform, and they have no plan B.

26 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    But, but, but… no public option! #onelasttime

  2. 2
    Little Boots says:

    good god with the threads.

  3. 3
    Fuzzy says:

    The word will spread very quickly to those who live in the “opt out” states and ensure some political upheaving. Grab your popcorn and enjoy the fun.

  4. 4
    Mike in NC says:

    Our TV features an endless procession of drooling sociopaths who apparently have all been sent the same talking points by the RNC: “Obamacare is a disaster!”

    No Plan B indeed.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    They didn’t really have a plan A.

  6. 6
    beltane says:

    @BGinCHI: Maybe not, but they sure did put on a show worthy of Cecil B. DeMille.

  7. 7
    MomSense says:

    @Little Boots:

    Since I missed you earlier–one of my favorites.

  8. 8
    Little Boots says:

    just cause. and for steeplejack and for omnes, because they have been dicks, unlike mnemosyne:

  9. 9
    BBA says:

    Their current plan is to take the Senate, pass bills to repeal Obamacare a few thousand times, and hope that Obama messes up the paperwork on at least one of the vetoes.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    @beltane: Right. That is their plan A. Every damn time.

    It’s the hysteric’s ploy: act out instead of recognizing reality.

  11. 11
    RaflW says:

    I’m in Colorado for vacation and some slush fund is hitting Udall hard on TV, for supporting Obamacare. So at least the GOP base still thinks the 8 million number doesn’t matter.

    There’s also the little matter of probably a million or more “Obamacare” success stories who have no idea that the coverage they got came from that dread source. “I sure hate the government, but this Kentucky free healthcare is much better that what that Kenyan is pushing!”

  12. 12
    RaflW says:

    Probably not big pushes from low income (potential) voters. But hospital associations and others who are painfully aware of how badly uninsured people are hitting their bottom lines are no doubt doing some serious lobbying in the opt-out states.

  13. 13
    Little Boots says:

    ya know what? johnny has to stop holding me up. I post a lot, and he needs to stop slowing me down.

  14. 14
    Cacti says:

    If they’d just kill the bill, we’d have single payer by now.

  15. 15
    kindness says:

    The Death of 1000 Cuts. It’s been part of their playbook since Carter. With a black Muslim Kenyan in the White House they’re simply including the kitchen sink in with any of the hairballs they can barf up. Sadly the MSM doesn’t point and laugh at said hairballs. Instead they repeat it because well, ‘It’s been said that…..’.

  16. 16
    different-church-lady says:

    – procrastination
    – takes time to understand complex choices and programs.

    Two very obvious additional reasons enrollments surged that are apparently not obvious enough for a lot of people. Anyone could have seen that was how it was going to go, if they had any interest in being honest with anyone, including themselves.

  17. 17
    Ruckus says:


    if they had any interest in being honest with anyone, including themselves.

    I think I see the fly in the ointment here.

  18. 18
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    I, for one, have done well w/ Obamacare…

    I live in California…

    I was paying for my own coverage thru my job and it was costing me $1,100/mo… I did pay for that plan thru a fixed premium plan and that did reduce the cost but it was still convoluted as all get out and kept me tied to that job whether or not I wanted to be there…

    I have NO truly serious health probes but do have some assets to protect, so having no coverage was not an option…

    By dropping my plan at work and buying one thru Covered Ca, I now pay $600/mo… yes, I have higher everything, deductibles, co-pays, blah blah blah, and overall my health is so good I can’t imagine I’ll end up going thru the $6K I’m saving a year over the cost of the other plan… and should I choose to leave that job, I can take my current coverage w/ me, which I think will turn out to be a much bigger deal for people like me as time goes by…

    It infuriates me to no end to hear conservatives babble on and on about what an abject failure the ACA is, w/out ever once acknowledging the good it does for someone like me…

  19. 19
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Ruckus: That’s not a fly…

    It’s an elephant…

  20. 20
    Ruckus says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity:
    Well to be honest it’s a whole bunch of elephants.
    And it’s not really ointment, it’s bullshit.
    But the idea is sound.

  21. 21
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Ruckus: Absolutely…

    Kinda like a hog wallow, but for conservatives… and no, that’s not all mud…

  22. 22
    LanceThruster says:

    Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of morans.

  23. 23
    moderateindy says:

    My favorite talking point that the right has been pushing, and will certainly become a top meme, is the whole “Obamacare is a failure because rates are going to increase”. Because FSM knows that before the socialist Kenyan usurper destroyed our freedumb insurance rates never, ever went up! It’s such a silly argument, but I never see any Dems, or journalists point out the obvious fact that one of the reasons ACA got passed was because of the out of control rate increases that plagued our wonderful Health care system. Along with the personal stories about people that had no coverage, being able to get affordable insurance, and the positive effect that resulted, Dems really need to start hammering on just how successful this legislation seems to be at slowing the explosive rate of inflation of medical costs.

  24. 24
    Gretchen says:

    Idiot Tim Huelscamp of Kansas is saying that there are more unisured Kansans than before Obamacare. Of course it couldn’t be the fault of our Governor Brownback and state legislature refusing Medicaid expansion, refusing to set up their own exchange, and generally obstructing as much as possible.

  25. 25
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Cacti: Those contradictions are going to heighten themselves even slower now, as we kick the can eight million times down the road.

  26. 26
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Baud: This was like, literally, but for the RW trolls, every comment on ThinkProgress the other day, and close to every comment on RawStory. Gaaaaah I hate the comments.

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