Photo of the day

From a Big Picture gallery of the National Geographic Traveler contest (there’s only 8 here and they are all awesome– you should take a look):

“Mirrow Wave” The Wave after a heavy thunderstorm with a small pond granting a perfect mirror for the reflection of the hiker. A calm and solemn place at a perfect day. (Photo and caption by Nicholas Roemmelt / National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest)


Obamacare on the upswing?

Maybe.  But at least so far, it is safe to say the fantastical conservative proclamations of doom have not been borne out. The thing is, it seems that many conservatives actually believed these fantastical proclamations of doom and don’t know what to do about a law that has many problems, but is basically working.  Are many individuals worse off from Obamacare?  Surely.  Lots of them because Republicans refused to expand Medicaid.  Or young healthy people who are seeing their insurance go up (of course, they’ll benefit when they are not so young and not so healthy and can still get affordable insurance).  And others.  You make changes this big, people are going to get hurt.  But Jon Cohn has a nice piece yesterday that argues this is all definitely worth it:

The Affordable Care Act has unleashed a great many changes—some good, some bad, some in between. And it’s going to be a long time before there’s enough evidence to assess them carefully. But the available data points offer hints about what is happening. And while they don’t add up to a clear, definitive vindication of the law, they are enough to justify some real optimism—the kind that hasn’t been possible since October 1, the day launched, crashed, and nearly took the whole liberal cause into cyberhell with it…

Four years after enactment, and six months into the final stage of implementation, the starter home may not look great. But it’s weathered the political and technological storms, albeit better in some parts of the country than others, and it is still standing. People are using the new marketplaces to get insurance. And the available evidence—a combination of state-specific data from places like Washington, Kentucky, and New York, along with fuzzy polling data and fuzzier anecdotes—suggests strongly the number of people without insurance is declining…

It’s impossible to tell by how much, so you should ignore anybody, left or right, who claims to know the answer. But the fact that enrollments through the marketplaces are approaching what the Congressional Budget Office and other experts once predicted ought to make you more confident about their other projections. And these authorities predicted the law would mean many more people had real, stable health insurance coverage. One reason, often overlooked in this debate, is that lots of people are getting coverage through other sources—like Medicaid or, if they are young adults, through their parents’ employers—that would not have been available without Obamacare. Another is that conservative stories of several million people losing coverage because insurers cancelled plans last year overlook one key fact: Nearly all of those people got new insurance, usually through the same carriers as before.

It may sound self-evident, but giving more people decent health insurance makes a real difference in people’s lives. [emphasis mine]

Molly Ball suggests we have turned a political corner:

Further gladdening Democrats, some polls are now even showing voters beginning to change their negative views of the law. Is Obamacare finally turning the corner?

The answer is … maybe.

Nonetheless, it’s clear the doomsayers’ predictions for the Affordable Care Act—that the website was totally unworkable, that enrollment would fall dramatically short, that the whole structure of healthcare reform would collapse of its own weight—aren’t coming to pass. [emphasis mine]

The big question, especially for politics, is what the next round of polls looks like. Does today’s flurry of good Obamacare news begin to change Americans’ minds about the virtues of the law? Does that, in turn, do anything to lift the president’s sagging approval rating and Democrats’ gloomy midterm prospects? We’ll have to wait and see.

As for Ball’s questions, to some degree I think a real change means that Democrats actually need to find back on the issue.  And maybe the latest good news will give them the courage to do so.

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