Paul Ryan admits that the popular parts of Obamacare – guaranteed insurance even for those with pre-existing conditions, allowing people up to 26 coverage under their parents’ insurance, a ban on higher premiums for those working physical-labor jobs – wouldn’t be affordable without the rest of it, including the individual mandate. Ryan’s occasional lapses into honesty aren’t really enough to justify his reputation as a Serious Person; he’s mostly a standard-issue downward class warrior and a master of the Magic Asterisk. But that’s no reason not to be thankful when he does tell the truth. “Repeal and Replace” means, in simple English, “Screw you!”
This is why the politics of Obamacare are likely to turn around over the next few months and years. We’re switching from a situation where status quo bias is on the side of the naysayers to a situation where Ryan and the rest of the wrecking crew have to explain to millions of people why what they have needs to be taken away from them in order to support loopholes for corporations and keep taxes low the top tenth of one percent. That’s the logic behind the orgy of rage and fear to which the right wing has treated us over the past five years. My prediction is that health care will be at worst a wash for the Democrats this fall, and that Hillary Clinton will use it to slaughter whatever sacrificial goat the Republicans put on the altar in 2016.