Owning It

As I’ve noted here on occasion, the problems that implementation of the Affordable Care Act has encountered have generated a sort of grim satisfaction among some progressive observers. And it’s perfectly understandable that proponents of a single-payer system or those who thought a public option was absolutely essential to the kind of competitive system the ACA set up would note some of their concerns may have been vindicated, or that even as the Obamacare exchanges founder, the Medicaid (thought of as a single-payer program, though actually semi-privatized in many states) expansion is enrolling new people at a fairly robust pace in the 25 states where it’s proceeding.

Atrios–nobody’s idea of a neoliberal squish–offered a reminder of the political realities of Obamacare right now.

Whatever the merits of ACA, it is now something the Dems own. For decades I’ve watched Dems try to run away from things which have been surgically implanted on any politician with a D next to their name. It’s always bizarre and pointless. You’re the party of gay marriage, abortion, and Obamacare whether you like it or not.

That’s as true of single-payer fans as it is of those chasing after GOP “fixes” of Obamacare. If Obamacare doesn’t work, we go back to the status quo ante, not to some magic moment where Medicare For All becomes the national rage overnight.

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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.