About That Lost Opportunity

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Some conservatives and Republicans are arguing that opponents of Obamacare have blown a big opportunity to draw public attention to its calamitous rollout. I don’t think this is something that conservatives should be too concerned about. Either the administration is going to be able to fix these problems by the fall of next year, healthy people are going to sign up for coverage, and people will be happy with their premiums — or not. If the administration’s preferred scenario comes about, then the early problems will be mostly forgotten — and would have been mostly forgotten even if the press had been talking about nothing but those problems in October 2013. In this case, the Republican campaign against Obamacare will start to die. Or these early problems are signs of more serious ones to come, and the results of Obamacare are going to leave Americans somewhere between dissatisfied and enraged. If that’s what happens, lack of obsessive press coverage now is not going to make the administration’s job of defending the law any easier next fall.

The same, I think, is true of how Obamacare does in 2015 and 2016. Given that we were and are unlikely to make major changes to the law before the next presidential term, it was always going to be the longer-term results of it that mattered more than the first days.

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