I’m the secretary for the MIT Class of 1982. I recently sent out a request for news to be published in our alumni magazine. I asked folks if they had anything interesting/exciting/funny to share that related to Obamacare. I promised anonymity to anyone who was involved with the healthcare.gov debacle. This unleashed a firestorm of rage from Obama supporters and I was accused of “ridiculing efforts to provide health care to the poor.” Nobody questioned the equation of Obamacare with “health care for the poor.”
Given that this is a group with a lot of age, experience, and education, I think it is safe to say that Obamacare has won the PR battle. A fair number of people are attributing to it all of the things that they like about Medicaid (the actual government program to provide health care to the poor, established in 1965). I wrote about this in November 2012 and I’m wondering to what extent it is possible for politicians to take credit for doing things that the government is already doing. Could a politician convince voters, for example, that prior to his election there were no streets? That they needed to vote for him and his party in order that surface transportation remained possible? Probably not, but presumably there are harder-to-observe portions of government where the public might forget that a service predated a politician’s claim to have delivered it.
Anyway, it seems as though Obamacare will be permanent because all that supporters need to do to shut down any criticism is to assert that the critic is trying to strip poor people of health care. Especially at Christmas it would take quite the Scrooge to suggest that less than 100 percent of GDP might be spent on aiding the suffering.
[I should add that the most vociferous supporters of Obamacare among the class members, and the ones most likely to take the position that every American had a moral duty to support both President Obama and Obamacare, were physicians, i.e., folks who will draw approximately 67 percent of their revenue from the government. (source: Forbes). Employees of Lockheed Martin must be jealous. If you say that you'd rather our national wealth be spent on something other than the government giving them $200 million for an extra F-35 fighter plane, Lockheed Martin workers who would collect some of this as salary can't call you immoral.]