The lies that stoked anti-Obamacare rage

Around 40 percent of the public believed that Obamacare would create “death panels” depriving senior citizens of care.

I guess it ain’t over until the portly golfer sings, but it does look as if Obamacare will survive. In the end, Mitch McConnell couldn’t find the votes he needed; many thanks are due to Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain (who turns out to be a better man than I thought), not to mention the solid wall of Democrats standing up for what’s right. Meanwhile, all indications are that the insurance markets are stabilizing, with insurer profitability up and only around 0.1 percent of enrollees unserved.

It’s true that the tweeter-in-chief retains considerable ability to sabotage care, but Republicans are basically begging him to stop, believing — correctly — that the public will blame them for any future deterioration in coverage.

Why did Obamacare survive? The shocking answer: It’s still here because it does so much good. Tens of millions have health coverage — imperfect, but far better than none at all — thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Millions more rest easier knowing that coverage will still be available if something goes wrong — if, for example, they lose their employer-sponsored plan or develop a chronic condition.

Which raises a big question: Why did the prospect of health reform produce so much popular rage in 2009 and 2010?

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I’m not talking about the rage of Republican apparatchiks, who hated and feared the ACA, not because they thought it would fail, but because they were afraid it would work. (It has.) Nor am I talking about the rage of some wealthy people furious that their taxes were going up to pay for lesser mortals’ care.

No, I’m talking about the people who screamed at their congressional representatives in town halls. People like, for example, the man who pushed his wheelchair-bound son, who was suffering from cerebral palsy, in front of a congressman, yelling that President Barack Obama’s health care plan would provide the boy with “no care whatsoever” and would be a “death sentence.”

The reality, of course, is that people with pre-existing medical conditions are among the ACA’s biggest beneficiaries, and would have had the most to lose if conservative Republicans had managed to repeal the law. And this should have been obvious from the beginning.

Beyond that, it’s now…

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