Happy birthday, Obamacare! The Affordable Care Act turns one year old today.*
On October 1, 2013, Obamacare’s health exchanges launched, allowing millions of Americans to (eventually) purchase affordable health insurance. That launch, of course, quickly fell apart as the federal exchange, Healthcare.gov, had significant flaws that prevented most people from buying insurance. It took a few months, but the White House solved most of those problems.
In celebration of this special day, the House GOP shared a message on its Twitter account:
If you’ve been only reading conservative news sites, this image may seem like a fair representation of Obamacare’s first year: plagued by technical issues and needed to be repealed. That, though, is an incredibly warped view of the status of the law. As my colleague Jonathan Cohn explained Tuesday, the law has had quite a successful first year:
The Affordable Care Act has real flaws and shortcomings, and pretty much any week you can find a new story about one of them. On Monday, for example, the New York Times had an article about people discovering they owe large medical bills because, during an emergency, they received care from a physician who wasn't part of their insurance network. The next open enrollment period begins in just a few weeks and, already, advocates are bracing for new glitches. But if you focus on the big picture, the available evidence suggests that the Affordable Care Act is working pretty much as its designers envisioned it would.
Cohn uses seven graphs to show that the ranks of the uninsured are falling, premiums aren’t skyrocketing, and the law is coming in under budget. In other words, the law is working.
But Wednesday isn't just Obamacare's birthday. It's also the anniversary of the 2013 government shutdown, when Republicans refused to pass a budget unless President Obama agreed to defund Obamacare. After a 16-day shutdown, the GOP finally relented just before the debt ceiling deadline, with almost zero concessions from the president. It was a political disaster for the party and even obscured Obamacare’s dreadful launch. Funny, you don’t hear any reminders from the House GOP about that.
*Yes, technically the ACA passed March 23, 2010, but c'mon.