Mercy Cabrera (L), an insurance agent with Sunshine Life and Health Advisors, helps Amparo Gonzalez purchase an insurance policy under the Affordable Care Act at the store setup in the Westland Mall on Nov. 14, 2013 in Hialeah, Fla.
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Virgina Republican: Yes, Obamacare is helping some Americans


Steve wrote Monday about the increasing evidence not only that Obamacare is here to stay, but that opposition to it won’t be the slam-dunk political winner next fall that Republicans are hoping for.

And today comes a small but revealing development that adds to that impression—in the form of a quote from a Republican member of Congress.

Here’s what Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia told The New York Times.

It’s not in dispute that many Americans’ lives are being disrupted in an important way by this law. Is it also true that some Americans’ lives have gotten better? Yes, and not to acknowledge that is to deny reality.

Rigell’s right. On Sunday and Monday alone, 29,000 people signed up for insurance on the federal exchanges (that doesn’t count those who used the state exchanges). That’s more than had enrolled in the whole month of October.

In fact, pretty soon it’s going to become clear that the number of people helped by the ACA—and remember, that’s not just those signing up on the federal and state exchanges, but also the the millions covered under the law’s Medicaid expansion—dwarfs the number who are hurt. That’s likely to be true even if you define “hurt” to apply to people who lost their sub-par insurance and can now get better coverage for less on the exchanges. 

Gradually, enough data is emerging for news reports to be able to convey the full picture, rather than relying on cherry-picked anecdotes. That means more and more Republicans are going to be forced to acknowledge, like Rigell, that, OK, the law may be helping a large number of struggling Americans find affordable health coverage, but they oppose it anyway. And that kind of equivocation just isn’t likely to produce a winning political message.