The right wing has proven itself again and again to live in an evidence-free world. To them, facts are irrelevant, even biased, if they don’t follow the extremist conservative agenda.
That’s why so many of them still believe that Obamacare has been a debacle. But as economist Paul Krugman points out in the NY Times, the Affordable Care Act is doing better then even many of its supporters realize:
- More than 15 million Americans have gained insurance — many of those who have not live in states run by GOP governors and legislatures that refuse to expand Medicaid.
- The newly insured are saving the rest of us money for the hidden costs of covering the emergency room visits they previously used as a health safety net — a bill that was passed on to taxpayers.
- The cost of insurance is lower than predicted, and the annual increases are less than they were before the ACA went into effect.
- Overall health spending is growing at a much slower rate.
- Obamacare has not been the job-killer Republicans were sure it would be — employment has shown its biggest monthly gains since the 1990s.
- Obamacare has not caused the deficit to increase, despite GOP doomsday predictions — in fact, repealing it would reverse the decline.
The facts show that Obamacare is a success. Could it be better? Sure. But it’s not the Armageddon-causing piece of legislation that conservative talk radio loudmouths and lying Fox News pundits continue to claim it is. The Supreme Court has now legitimized its legality twice, millions of people won’t face financial ruin just because they get sick and, while GOP presidential candidates repeat Mitt Romney’s 2012 promise to repeal it on their first day in office, that won’t happen, either, because the ACA’s popularity with the American public is only going to grow between now and November, 2016.
Now, you might wonder why a law that works so well and does so much good is the object of so much political venom — venom that is, by the way, on full display in Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion, with its rants against “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” But what conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives.
That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.