National Voices

Tuesday, Aug 27 2013 11:01 PM

OTHER VIEWS: Might reviled Obamacare actually work?

Oh, the naysayers were vociferous about one thing when it came to what they called "Obamacare," the label they put on the Affordable Care Act to focus their anger on President Obama.

That one thing? That the new health care law would bankrupt the nation and sharply drive up the cost of insurance for all Americans. The problem is those dire predictions are not coming true.

Consider the latest figures on health insurance costs. Yes, they're up some. And, yes, the increases exceed the rate of inflation. But the increases are 4 percent for family plans and 5 percent for individual plans.

In 2011, the average cost of a family plan went up 9.5 percent.

In other words, Obamacare isn't going to break the country or its citizens. Nor will it send the deficit skyrocketing.

Indeed, evidence is mounting that the Affordable Care Act has been bending down the cost curve on health care and lowering the projected costs of Medicare and Medicaid.

The vehement opposition to the new health care law is not coming from insurance companies or drug companies.

They got enough compromises on health care reform to ensure their good financial standing under the new law.

The opposition is most intense on the hard right, among those tea partyers and congressional Republicans such as Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, the minority leader who has opposed President Obama's agenda at every turn.

Midway into the president's first term, McConnell made his famous commitment to keeping Obama from attaining a second term. He said in October 2010, "The single, most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Having failed to achieve that "single, most important thing," some Republicans are trying to take back the president's most important accomplishment. Some continue to speak of Obamacare as if it were still just a proposition and not a reality.

It must be maddening for the president's most vitriolic opponents to have to face the fact that health care reform is looking likely to be just what the president said it would be: a change that will keep more Americans healthy and will protect them from soaring health care costs when they get sick or injured.

That's why it's called the Affordable Care Act. What about that idea is so wrong? Why shouldn't Americans have some of the same benefits and security that citizens of virtually ever other industrialized nation in the world have?

What a pity that all leaders, regardless of party, can't celebrate success instead of having some continue to disparage Obama's response to a national need.

-- Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer

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