The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act worked as it was supposed to. For six years, anyway.
The landmark 2010 health-care legislation colloquially known as “Obamacare” was effective in reducing the number of uninsured Americans, the primary goal of the law, and a wish for Democrats going back decades.
One simple statistic tells the tale: When President Barack Obama affixed his signature to the legislation in 2010, there were a bit more than 17% of American adults without health insurance. Six years later, that number had been reduced to 10%.
Since 2016, though, we’ve been backsliding. Until now.
As a candidate for president, Joe Biden pledged to build on the successes of Obamacare, and his administration has been making good on that promise, with more than 200,000 people having taken advantage of an expanded enrollment period. As that number reflects only some of those who are new to the system, and as the sign-up period extends into May, one imagines that many, many more will soon enough be counted on the rolls of the insured.
This is worth a hearty cheer. (Except, of course, from congressional Republicans, who continue to say that they want to “repeal and replace” the law — even though they’ve never actually come up with any sort of viable replacement.)
If one chooses to look at Biden’s first weeks in the presidency as Obama’s third term in the White House — and that’s a view worth considering — then it’s entirely possible to see the current president’s doings, at least when it comes to the Affordable Care Act, as perfectly in line with what his onetime boss would have wanted.
Obamacare was the foundation; Bidencare is the next story in the building.
If what Biden is pursuing — a successful expansion of the Affordable Care Act — takes hold and a great many more citizens end up with health insurance because of the current president’s efforts, then those who cherish results above all else should be able to look at the work of the 46th president and celebrate unreservedly. After all, if the goal is to see that many more people have health insurance, and there are, in fact, many more folks covered, then the unrealistic push for Medicare for all may properly be seen as just so much smoke and mirrors, with making adjustments to Obamacare as the obvious best way forward.
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