Last week we learned that even Republican consumers who signed up for health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act are pleased with the results. The results were striking – when the GOP loses its own voters in the debate over “Obamacare,” it’s a bad sign – but they were also part of a fantastic streak of good news for those rooting for the success of the American system.
The drop in the number of uninsured Americans is terrific. There’s been an “amazing” decline in Medicare’s price tag, thanks in part to ACA reforms. Consumers are paying their premiums and insurers are clamoring to participate. Every Republican prediction about the success of the system has failed to come true.
Indeed, just this morning, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the ACA itself will cost even less than previously believed.
And it’s against this backdrop that some dead-enders can’t let go of their old talking points.
In what could be the latest move toward a 2016 presidential bid, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) offered a wide-ranging critique of President Obama’s domestic and foreign policies.Speaking to reporters at the National Governors Association on Saturday, Christie labeled Obamacare, the administration’s signature legislation, a “failure on a whole number of levels” and said it should be repealed.
Lately, it seems Republicans call the ACA a “failure” more out of habit than sincerity. Christie, for example, didn’t back up his rhetoric with anything specific, perhaps hoping people would just take his criticism at face value.
But there’s an obvious follow-up question: what exactly does Chris Christie think “failure” means? Because it doesn’t seem to apply at all to the Affordable Care Act.
Paul Krugman today notes the larger phenomenon.
You might ask why, if health reform is going so well, it continues to poll badly. It’s crucial, I’d argue, to realize that Obamacare, by design, by and large doesn’t affect Americans who already have good insurance. As a result, many peoples’ views are shaped by the mainly negative coverage in the news media. Still, the latest tracking survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that a rising number of Americans are hearing about reform from family and friends, which means that they’re starting to hear from the program’s beneficiaries.And as I suggested earlier, people in the media – especially elite pundits – may be the last to hear the good news, simply because they’re in a socioeconomic bracket in which people generally have good coverage.For the less fortunate, however, the Affordable Care Act has already made a big positive difference. The usual suspects will keep crying failure, but the truth is that health reform is – gasp! – working.
Someone might want to let Chris Christie know; he seems to be a little behind on the news.