The Godzilla Expectation

Less than ten weeks from now, the health care exchanges set up by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 will be open for enrollment, and an awful lot of people in federal and state governments and among advocacy groups are nervous about the roll-out. It probably doesn’t help that October 1 is also the most likely day for a federal government shutdown in a fight over appropriations or whatever hostage the Republican Party decides to take this year.

But as Sarah Kliff points out at Wonkblog, the threshold of meeting expectations for the Obamacare launch has been significantly lowered by conservative doom-sayers:

[T]here’s something else Republicans have been doing that, in a weird way, will likely help the Affordable Care Act. Namely, they have predicted the law’s complete and utter implosion when it launches on Oct. 1.

Senators say premiums will skyrocket; ads claim that Americans will lose access to their doctors. The health-care system we have right now, numerous legislators will warn, will quickly become a relic of the past. There’s even a rumor floating around right now that Obamacare will require every American to get a microchip implanted in their hand or neck that will contain their health and bank records.

Republicans have set Obamacare expectations so incredibly low that, if Godzilla doesn’t march in on Oct. 1 and gobble up our health insurance coverage and legions of IRS agents fail to microchip the masses, that could plausibly look like a success.

Well, I knew if we thought long and hard about it, we could find something constructive Republicans are doing in the health care policy arena. So there you are.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.