Here’s my prediction on Obama and the Affordable Care Act. Like it or not, we now have health care reform, a goal of politicians for generations. It’s been a difficult process and what is in place today may not be the final product, but it will not go away, either.
Republicans are already starting to look for ways to change the program, but are quietly giving up their wholesale opposition. The call for repeal is being relegated to the wing-nuts and in primaries this year, the Chamber of Commerce wing of the Republican Party will do what it can to beat back the Tea Party wing. By the end of 2014, people of all political persuasions will likely accept that the country is expanding health care to people who previously couldn’t afford it. In my book, that’s a good thing.
In states that accepted the Medicaid expansion and set up their own exchanges, the program will work pretty well. In states that don’t, there will continue to be problems and people will fall through the cracks. Somebody will likely pay a political price.
In those states, like North Carolina, the argument is easier for Republicans. They will say, “We told you so” if the program doesn’t meet its goal or premiums rise too much. Democrats will have to convince the public that Republicans sabotaged the program and it would have been more affordable if the GOP had accepted the Medicaid expansion and set up exchanges. That’s asking people to listen, think and reason instead of react so Democrats have a harder sell.
And Obama? He’ll be vilified by Republicans of all stripes for the roll out problems. That may or may not stick during the election cycle, but history will be kind to him. In time, people won’t remember the petty fights, the do-nothing Congress or even the disastrous roll out. What they will remember is that Obama provided health care for millions of Americans. That, and keeping the country from falling off the fiscal cliff, will be his legacy.