COLUMN: Fears & hopes: Is 'Obamacare' here to stay?
One of Romney’s pledges was to repeal Obamacare — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Obama signed into law in 2010. The constitutionality of this sweeping reform was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, as we’ve discussed before. Now, with Obama’s reelection, is Obamacare locked in? Or, is repeal still possible?
Fears and hopes have been our topics this week. We’ve considered monster storm Sandy and similar natural disasters, Election Day communion, the proliferation of ballot initiatives, and what changing demographics tell us about this and future elections. Today, we consider what may prove to be Obama’s signature legacy—the healthcare reform law that has come to bear his name.
There are lots of provisions to the law. A few went into effect immediately, while most will come online year by year. The last provision becomes effective on January 1, 2020. That’s beyond Obama’s second term. But most of the provisions will be in effect before he leaves office.
This means the law will be almost fully institutionalized by the end of his second term. All sorts of support structures, like insurance exchanges, will be up and running. More and more Americans will personally benefit from the law.
Already dependent children can stay on their parents’ insurance plans until they are 26. Insurers can’t exclude pre-existing conditions for children under age 19. Insurers can’t drop you if you become sick.
As an expanding number of Americans benefit, they will come to perceive the “moral correctness” of the law, which adds considerable legitimacy to it and decrease the chances they would support tampering with the law. And, politically, it would be too costly to unwind the law and replace it with something else. Obamacare is here to stay.
Have you personally benefited from the law?
Are you glad it's here to stay?
What fears and hopes do you have about it?