March 23, 2021

Happy 11th birthday, ACA!

It's been a bumpy 11 years since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and there have been times I was afraid for its survival, but it's still here, thanks in no small part to the efforts of millions of people all over the place to enact and protect it. Now, we're even improving it, at least temporarily, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act.

I know I've done this before, but I can't resist reposting this item from the day after it was signed into law in 2010, with comments from today following. To quote Dylan, "lotta water under the bridge/lotta other stuff too."

 It's official. President Obama signed the health care reform bill into law yesterday.

He told those in attendance that "We have just now enshrined, as soon as I sign this bill, the core principle that everybody should have some basic security when it comes to their health care."

Critics of the bill may point out that this isn't exactly the case, but there's no denying that this is a landmark piece of legislation that will extend health coverage to millions who have been doing without it. The New York Times calls it "the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago."

It remains to be seen whether the immediate benefits (political and otherwise) will outweigh the blowback. This item from Politico argues that the former will come before the latter, but I'm not sure I agree. It always seemed to me that a major drawback of the legislation was that the major expansion of health coverage via Medicaid and subsidies won't hit until several years down the line, meaning that the risks might hit earlier than the benefits.

Still, it probably will be hard for those who want to repeal it to win much of a crowd by saying "Bring back the donut hole" for Medicare Part D, or "let's cut those young people off their parent's insurance" or "Bring back denials of coverage for pre-existing conditions!"

The game has changed, although it's hard to guess just how or how much.

Looking at the post from 2021, I'd stand by it. I've never been big on making predictions, but I think I was right in worrying that the negative consequences, political and otherwise, would hit first, long before the benefits became apparent. Eventually the positives were felt, but not before a lot of political damage was done. And that the game really had changed.

I'd prefer not to go through all that again, however.



No comments: