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Aug 03

Obamacare and Disingenuous Republican Tutors

Obamacare and Disingenuous RepublicansFor eight years, Republicans drove themselves into a fever-pitch hysteria against the Affordable Care Act without bothering to learn how the law worked. Working from the premise that Obamacare was a uniquely ill-designed law — death panels! train wrecks! — they easily persuaded themselves and much of the country that Republicans could write something vastly better.

Half a year of Republican-run government has systematically exposed the right-wing arguments against Obamacare as bad-faith rhetoric or outright fantasy. One small-business owner, who told the New York Times in 2012 that he opposed the law as something jammed down the public’s throat, was re-interviewed this year. “I can’t even remember why I opposed it,” he now says.

It is not surprising that only this year did the Affordable Care Act become popular. The law’s unpopularity depended entirely on the existence of an imaginary alternative that was free of trade-offs. The populist fallacy that everybody can get better insurance for less money if only the government wasn’t run by morons is seductive. Obama’s wonkish explanations could not expose the fallacy’s hollowness. But the Republicans in power have proven excellent (if inadvertent) tutors.

–Jonathan Chait
Obama’s Legacy Is Finally Coming Into Focus, Thanks to Trump

4 comments

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  1. Jurgan

    In this sense, I’m kind of glad that the election went the way it did. Obama’s policies are much more secure if the Republicans get the opportunity to repeal them and don’t. It was painful to have health care always just one election away from disappearing, and if Clinton had won you know they’d still be promising to repeal next time. They might still try that, but no one will believe them, and it’ll be a much less popular talking point now that people are defending ACA.

    1. James Fillmore

      That’s one possible outcome, and it would be good. It’s also possible the bright folks at Heritage and the other think tanks come up with new Evil ideas that spark less popular resistance than the half-witted ploy that just died. Don’t count them out; they’re very good at it. But I’m hoping your way of seeing this turns out to be true.

      1. Frank Moraes

        Alas. That’s why I never count on demographics to save us. Republicans are really good at getting people to vote for them — regardless of how evil and incompetent they are.

    2. Frank Moraes

      True. But we’d also have a liberal (ish) Supreme Court. I would gladly have waited 4 or 8 years for this. And I think that each administration would have made repeal harder. After all, there will always be Republicans who want to repeal it, just as there are still Republicans who want to repeal Social Security.

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