Obamacare’s Bad Politics

With the implementation of Obamacare soon to really begin in-earnest, some conservatives have begun preemptively crowing over what they’re convinced will be a disastrous transition period. Considering they’ve spent the past three years gumming up the bureaucratic works as much as possible, they very well may be right.

But even if they aren’t, the American Prospect’s Paul Waldman worries that the bedtime story liberals tell themselves about Obamacare, that it will soon be just as beloved by the masses as Medicare and Social Security are today — and that Republicans will consequently shy from attacking it head-on — is going to look foolish in hindsight:

One of the biggest problems…is that Obamacare isn’t a single program like Medicare that people can come to love. It’s a whole bunch of pilot programs and new regulations, many of which involve private insurance or existing programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and when people are affected by those changes they won’t necessarily see them as being part of Obamacare…Your relationship with the insurer you choose will certainly be affected deeply by the ACA’s regulations, but most people still won’t understand exactly how.

Among the consequences are that Republicans will be absolutely free to continue to blame every problem anyone has with the health care system on Obamacare, without concern of producing a backlash from the law’s supporters. Compare that to how they talk about Medicare, a program they’ve hated since the moment it was proposed. Because they know how much seniors love their Medicare, they have to pretend they would never harm a hair on the program’s lil’ ole head…

That ridiculous kabuki Republicans are forced into is what protects Medicare from the shivs they’d love to jam into its hide. But nobody is going to shout, “Take your hands off my Obamacare!” because Obamacare isn’t going to be perceived as a thing you have. It’s just a bunch of rules governing how other things run.

I recall this argument being raised a few years ago, back when wild supposition about a bill years away from implementation was still cool. I thought it was probably right then, and still think so now…

[Continued @ Jubilee]

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