Everyone has probably heard someone say, “I hate to say ‘I told you so,’ but….” The truth, of course, is that no one actually hates to say that. Especially after an intense, drawn-out dispute, when evidence emerges that proves one side of an argument was correct and the other was wrong, the right side takes great satisfaction in being able to say, with pride and enthusiasm, “I told you so.”
With this in mind, exactly six years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law – the culmination of nearly a century of political wrangling over health security for the American public. Republicans were hysterical in predicting catastrophic consequences for the system, the public, and the economy, which is probably why a whole lot of White House officials felt pretty good releasing this I-told-you-so statement yesterday.
“Thanks to this law, 20 million more Americans now know the security of having health insurance, and our uninsured rate is below ten percent for the first time on record. As many as 129 million people with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage or charged more as a result. Those with private insurance got an upgrade as well: now almost 140 million Americans are guaranteed free preventive care, like certain cancer screenings and vaccines, and improvements in the quality of care in hospitals have averted 87,000 deaths since 2010.“Critics said this law would destroy jobs and cripple the economy, but in fact just the opposite has happened. Our businesses have added jobs every single month since I signed it into law. The unemployment rate has dropped from almost 10 percent to 4.9 percent. Thanks in part to this law, health care prices have risen at the lowest rate in 50 years. Medicare is continuing a period of slow spending growth, saving taxpayers more than $470 billion from 2009 to 2014 alone. And premiums for a family with job-based coverage are almost $2,600 lower than if trends from the decade before the law had continued.”
All of this, incidentally, has the added benefit of being true.
The administration published a separate fact sheet documenting the many ways in which “Obamacare” has produced meaningful, positive results. Fortunately, it’s not a short list.
The NBC News report noted that the law’s opponents are “unlikely to stop” trying to tear the ACA down. That’s no doubt true, as evidenced by the dozens and dozens of instances in which congressional Republicans have voted to repeal all or part of the federal reform law.
But while their efforts continue, let’s pause to appreciate the fact that six years ago at this time, GOP lawmakers made a series of fairly specific predictions about what would happen between March 2010 and March 2016. Each of those predictions, without exception, turned out to be wrong.
The right has had great success in the area of public relations, however. Much of the public still believes it doesn’t like “Obamacare,” even if most Americans like all of its provisions and benefits, and it’ll likely take quite a bit of time before the ACA overcomes its “branding” issue.
But in the meantime, the Affordable Care Act’s successes will continue to become more obvious, whether its detractors like it or not. And to paraphrase Vice President Biden’s quote from six years ago today, that’s a big flippin’ deal.