A PROGRESSIVE VOICE FROM THE LLANO ESTACADO

Friday, November 16, 2012

Obamacare Was A Winner In 2012 Election

There were many winners and losers on election day, but one of the biggest winners was the Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare). Ever since it was passed, the Republicans have made it a political football, and swore to repeal it. This election was there last chance to get that done before the law's many parts are fully implemented. By the 2016 election, it will be nearly if not completely done, and any attempt to repeal it before than will be vetoed by President Obama (if it gets that far).

The Republicans will probably still try to play political games with Obamacare, like try to block funding, but they have lost their chance to ever repeal the law. And it would probably be better for their party if they just gave up trying to oppose Obamacare. Right after Obamacare was passed, most people didn't understand the law, and what it would do. This was partly because of Republican propaganda, and partly because the Democrats did a poor job of explaining it to the people.

Because of that, the Republicans were able to drum up substantial support for repealing the law. They even took it to the courts to try and get it overturned. But they failed in the courts, and didn't have the power in Congress to repeal it -- so the law slowly started to take effect. College students can now stay on their parent's insurance, pre-existing conditions are a thing of the past, insurance companies must now spend 80% to 85% of the premiums they get on actual medical care, and many states have started to set up the insurance exchanges to save consumers some money (except for some red states). And last summer, millions of people received refunds from the insurance companies.

As the many parts of the law have started to be implemented, most people have realized that Obamacare is not the scary thing that the Republicans tried to convince them it was. They are beginning to understand that the law really does acomplish some good things -- things that have long needed doing. And they are getting comfortable with the changes. As the chart above shows (compiled from a poll done by the Kaiser Family Foundation), support for repealing Obamacare has dropped to a new low. Only about 33% of the population now wants to see it repealed, and by the time the law is fully implemented that percentage is sure to drop much lower.

As I said, this election was the last chance the Republicans had to get back in power and repeal the law. That chance is now gone, and to be truthful, it had probably disappeared before election day. Note that in the final months of the campaign we heard very little about repealing Obamacare. It was simply no longer a way to win large amounts of votes.

The Republicans will probably still preach their opposition, and maybe even make some largely symbolic efforts to stop implementation. But the people are no longer behind them. Obamacare is here to stay. It did not solve all of the problems with our broken health care system, but it did improve it somewhat -- and most people now realize that.

Now we just need to drum up enough support to finish the job. It probably won't happen in Obama's term in office, but it must happen one of these days -- and hopefully not too far down the road. Of course, I'm talking about finally implementing a government-run single-payer health insurance system that would cover all Americans in much the same way that Medicare covers all elderly Americans. It is the logical next and final step. But for now, we'll just have to be happy that Obamacare is now safe.

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