If you head over to San Jose Mercury News, you'll see an article posted over the weekend talking about the impact of Obamacare on individuals. What's most interesting is that it shows the evolving opinions from those who previously or currently support the healthcare law, and those opinions, unsurprisingly, vary depending on their personal situation.
For instance, Marilynn Gray-Raine, a breast cancer survivor, is thrilled to find out that her premiums dropped several hundred dollars per month. This was primarily because her cancer was no longer penalizing her as a pre-existing condition. Ending the penalties for pre-existing conditions was one of the few parts of Obamacare that received widespread bi-partisan support. In fact, during the famous "Healthcare Summit," Paul Ryan & others specifically mentioned that they believed any health care reform should include it.
But of course the cost of offsetting the risk of covering someone with a pre-existing condition is going to find its way into someone's wallet. For the purposes of this article, that someone was Cindy Vinson, a huge supporter of Obamacare who is seeing her premiums skyrocket.
There are many choice quotes from Cindy that show how the reality of Obamacare is not squaring with her rosy expectations, but the one that prompted my headline was this:
"Of course, I want people to have health care," Vinson said. "I just didn't realize I would be the one who was going to pay for it personally."
As Lady Thatcher famously said, "The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money."
This very simple concept was somehow not relayed in a way that pulled people to our point of view in 2012. They continued to rally around a law, ignorant to the cost to themselves, only now awakening to its difficulties.
There were other enlightening quotes from Obamacare supporters saddled with the new reality of their premiums. Tom Waschura, who saw annual premiums for his family raise by $10,000 per year said this:
"I was laughing at Boehner -- until the mail came today," Waschura said, referring to House Speaker John Boehner, who is leading the Republican charge to defund Obamacare.
"I really don't like the Republican tactics, but at least now I can understand why they are so pissed about this. When you take $10,000 out of my family's pocket each year, that's otherwise disposable income or retirement savings that will not be going into our local economy."
Apparently, Republican messaging was so bad in 2012 that harsh reality has become the only thing capable of getting people to understand where we are coming from. This guy had to be saddled with $10,000 in new bills to finally believe that Boehner wasn't a rich jerk trying to hurt the poor.
There have been many that have said full implementation of Obamacare is the only way to shift public opinion enough to make repeal a realistic option after 2016.
While I'm still not sure if I buy that line of thinking, I'll say this: the painful consequences of reality have a much better track record of pushing conservative ideals than Karl Rove ever has.
Does that mean I'm sold? Certainly not. But it feels good to see people discover the truth. I'd like to see more.