Monday, April 21, 2014

Quieting The Critics

Over the last week, as our staff and friends relaxed at both Passover seders and Easter dinners, we found a lack of a certain event pleasantly surprising.

Around tables that held family and friends with a broad range of political opinions, between matzo bread and macaroons, or ham slices and deviled eggs, this year there were virtually no major arguments surrounding Obamacare. Even while Republican primary candidates were airing ridiculous ads on TV in the background talking about smacking down Obamacare, we didn't run into any arguments over the subject at our dinner tables, and neither did anyone else we know - the first time that's not happened at holiday events like that in quite some time.

That lack of discussion might be hard to believe, if you've seen the platform many in the Republican Party are already running on this year: That if voters will just send them to DC - or send them back to DC - Republicans will try to smother Obamacare to death, like an act of euthanasia.

What millions of Americans  - including at least one state Republican politician we know personally -  seemed to be saying this past week is that there's no way in hell they're going to let extremist Republicans take their affordable health care away from them now. Or as the often insightful Greg Sargent said last Friday, that the glorious Obamacare reckoning promised by the GOP is finally fading away, never having happened.

As Sarah Kliff over at Vox.com made clear last week, there's no surprise why Obamacare has been succeeding as well as it has been. Even with the sabotage by Republicans and the horrendous website rollout last fall, being uninsured in America today is a horrible thing. As Kliff noted, the persistence of Americans who ran into trouble and yet kept going until they were enrolled was amazing - and the number of enrollees reflected the desperation they were obviously feeling.

The number of enrollees is actually far greater than the 8 million Americans that President Obama touted last week.

About 3 million people signed up for Medicaid through the ACA, with more than 3.1 million young adults getting covered under their parents' plans, thanks to the law. Charles Gaba, considered by many to be the Obamacare enrollment numbers guru, estimates another 2 to 5 million purchased their own insurance policies outside of the exchanges, thanks to the law. Add that to the 8 million-plus that have used the exchanges, and you're getting near 20 million Americans who have solid, full coverage health insurance now, who didn't have anything close to that kind of coverage just two years ago.

Still, Republicans campaigning at virtually every level continue to insist they're going to repeal and replace Obamacare, evan as Sargent also noted last Friday, that Americans no longer believe Republicans have a plan to replace Obamacare.

Given these facts, as Brian Beutler of The New Republic wrote last week, the Republican position on Obamacare going into the 2014 cycle just doesn't really make any logical sense.

Call us crazy but we've been saying for years that logic and the modern version of the GOP just don't go together. Let's just hope American voters remember the current Republican disconnect - and their own newfound appreciation for Obamacare - and act a bit more logically themselves when they head to the voting booths this fall.