Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Foolin' - Fight's Over.

Today may be April Fools' Day, but we're certainly not kidding around about our focus today.

For more than seven years now, members of the media have been referring to "Obamacare." And it has now been four years since the 'Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act' - the real name of the law - went into effect.

There have been more column inches in print, more pixels online, more political cartoons drawn, and in general more discussion about this topic than almost any topic that our staff or any journalist we know has ever covered. We personally know more than one health policy journalist who is as sick of this topic as the rest of America is - and this is the topic they're experts on.

Still, when we saw Paul Waldman's piece Monday afternoon at Greg Sargent's Plum Line, we almost had to jump for joy. The title of his piece says it all: "Obamacare fails to collapse. Time to move on, folks." Frankly, we couldn't agree more.

We're fairly sure, however, that many media and political figures on the right feel differently. Much like Election Night 2012, what they're likely feeling is likely a mixture of shock, anger, and denial, along with a feeling of being duped by their own propaganda. Like devoted sports fans who've just watched their favorite sports team get destroyed in the last game of the season, right-wing politicos are still sitting, dazed, hours after the Obamacare enrollment deadline passed, wondering how they could have been so wrong.

Indeed, just as the open enrollment period ended last night, the AP confirmed: The number of Americans signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act has now reached the Obama Administration's optimistic goal of 7 million. Some people have even signed up directly with insurers. It all adds up to 9.5 million Americans who have health insurance now, who were uninsured six months ago.

For those on the political right, the news only gets worse from there.

Not only has the public's support of Obamacare gone into positive territory in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll - it also hit a new high in the latest poll from Fox, which they quickly buried. Democrats and those on the political left are finally beginning to rally behind the law as well.

For any American who actually cares about fixing our broken health care payment system - which, after all, has always been the point of health insurance reform - the fact that Obamacare seems to be building steam and getting positive results is something to cheer about. That said, as many journalists have noted multiple times (though we personally credit Greg Sargent for saying it first and most often over the last few years), the true test for the law will be if it really works over time.

For now, we firmly agree with Paul Waldman: The time for Obamacare to be a headline issue is done.

We fully expect that some on the right will still cling to the crazy idea of repealing the law throughout the 2014 political season, and maybe even longer. Like a sports fan stuck in disbelief and denial though, still staring at a now-empty television set hours after the big loss, dreaming the outcome had been different, Republicans are going to have a hard time dealing with reality.

The fact is, the fight's over. The political right lost. Badly.

It's time for all of America to move on.