Obamacare Is Working – And That’s Bad News For Republicans
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services declared in a speech on Monday,
“The Affordable Care Act is clearly working. Healthcare is more affordable for families, businesses and for our economy as [a]whole. Coverage and services are more widely available to more people. Doctors and hospitals are delivering better care to their patients.”
That’s good news, unless you happen to be a Republican trying to run against it.
If you are Ted Cruz, Republican Senator from Texas and 2016 hopeful, that is bad news indeed. A year ago, as the sign ups for Affordable Care Act exchanges began, Cruz recognized the danger, pointing out to a Tea Party group;
“His (Obama’s) strategy is to get as many Americans as possible hooked on the subsidies, addicted to the sugar. If we get to Jan. 1, this thing is here forever.”
January 1st was a long time ago and despite Cruz’s best efforts and a never-ending series of votes in the House to repeal it, Obamacare is still here. Now insurance companies are posting their rate increases for next year, with an average of 8.2%, a far cry from the doom and gloom predictions that were touted by the right. Millions of Americans have found coverage they could not afford in the past. Over the summer more than $11 million in rebate checks went out to customers of insurance companies who spent less than 80% of premium revenue on health care.
While Cruz was absolutely correct in his assessment last year, it wasn’t even original. As Paul Krugman put it in a column back in June, Willam Kristol made a similar prediction some twenty years ago when another health care proposal was in the offing, Hillary Care. Warning that it might be successful, he said it could;
“…strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.”
So the danger was more in the program’s success, not its failure, at least from a GOP perspective. When your whole rationale is that government is incapable of doing things well, the last thing you need is a government success.