Some jaundiced comments on the political lessons of ACA

Me at

ACA sought to combine the best Democratic and Republican ideas in an ideologically moderate, fiscally disciplined package. Perhaps that was the fundamental political error.

Republicans will indeed have great difficulty unwinding ACA without causing a human catastrophe for which they would pay dearly. If Democrats paid a heavy political penalty for “owning” health policy in the Obama years, Republicans will pay a similar penalty if they damage things while they control all three branches of the federal government. As I’ve noted elsewhere, Republicans resemble the bear who caught the car. The car won’t emerge unscathed, but the bear will probably regret catching up. Although the electorate divides along partisan lines in their overall assessment of ACA, Americans support almost every individual element of ACA. There is no way to repeal it without doing unpopular things and visibly hurting real people along the way.

More here.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect,, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

6 thoughts on “Some jaundiced comments on the political lessons of ACA”

  1. The Republican propaganda machine will be able to shift blame 100% — only secondarily because it is such an effective propaganda machine, primarily because of the audience's propensity to believe.

  2. I don't see any evidence in the past fifty years to support that idea that Republicans will "pay dearly" for any political policy or position they take.

    1. They lose elections when things really go south. That happened in 1976, 1986, 1992, 2006, 2008. What doesn't happen is any long-lasting damage: they bounce back a couple of years later with a different crop of people in the most publicly visible positions (though the same guys keep coming back as executive functionaries).

  3. What the Republicans are going to get is what you get when you govern with slogans rather than with compassion and intelligence. At least I hope they're going to get it, but Frank Wilhoit and Robert Lambert may be right.

  4. …, Americans support almost every individual element of ACA.

    Yes, all the "free" stuff elements.

Comments are closed.