Given the recent arguments made in front of the Supreme Court regarding the Affordable Care Act (affectionately known as ObamaCare or RomneyCare) there has been a lot of rehashing of the ACA and its effects on the president’s legacy.
While I can’t speak for the president I do take issue with many of the opinions that have been offered.
First, as much as this legislation has been tied to President Obama, the talk at the time of passage was that Obama was too distant in the process and let Congress do too much of the leg work. Did Obama support health care reform? Yes. Was this his bill? Hardly.
Second, the rhetoric over the individual mandate suggests that progressives like the idea. The truth is progressives feel that every American citizen should have access to health care without going bankrupt. They support a single payer system. When the ACA was being passed there were conversations among progressives on whether you accept a flawed bill that accomplishes only a small portion of your goals and hope for future revisions and improvements or if you just scrap the whole thing and start over.
Progressives probably don’t support the individual mandate (the brainchild of the Heritage Foundation) any more than conservatives, but they value the benefits it provides to the uninsured and others such as those with the dreaded “pre-existing condition”.
Third, the debate over how this affects the deficit is largely irrelevant to progressives. Again the progressive stance is that universal health care falls under the basic tenant of government of general welfare. Medicare is more cost effective than private insurance so if progressives had their way and got a universal health care system, the Congressional Budget Office score wouldn’t make any difference. There is a reason we spend more money per person than any other nation in the world and our lack of a universal health care is a key component of that.
Additionally if your complaint is that the ACA doesn’t reduce the deficit or actually increases it some, it should be noted that if we did nothing or if we eliminate the ACA the increase in deficit would be worse. Fighting against the ACA doesn’t lead to a cut in the deficit.
If you’re a conservative and you hate the ACA then welcome to the club. This is nowhere near the progressive health care utopia that it is being portrayed as, but it gives more people access to health care and that is at least a good start.