In a surprising departure from Democrats’ strategy of intentionally lowering expectations for Obamacare’s January 2014 grand opening, New York Times progressive columnist Paul Krugman has declared that “the real Obamacare shock will be one of unexpected success” wherein “millions of Americans will suddenly gain health coverage” and “only a relative handful of people will be hurt at all.”
Krugman’s dramatic heightening of expectations stands in contradistinction to the Democratic strategy up to now of lowering Obamacare expectations and may serve as a GOP blueprint for raising voters’ expectations on Obamacare’s unveiling before the all-important 2014 midterm congressional elections.
Up until now, Democrats had worked hard to tamp down citizens’ expectations before the healthcare overhaul begins in earnest. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), one of Obamacare’s chief architects, called Obamacare “probably the most complex piece of legislation ever passed by the United States Congress.”
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) warned he fears “a huge train wreck coming down” when Obamacare is fully unleashed in 2014.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed with Baucus’s warnings: “Max said unless we implement this properly it’s going to be a train wreck, and I agree with him,” said Reid.
Krugman, however, says all the Democratic hand-wringing is for naught. He bases his bold prediction of Obamacare success on some early bids by California insurers that he says came in “surprisingly low.” Krugman concedes that “a handful of healthy people may find themselves paying more for coverage.” Nevertheless, says Krugman, “it looks as if Obamacare’s first year in California is going to be an overwhelmingly positive experience.”
Krugman admits Obamacare hiccups are to be expected because “the sheer meanspiritedness of the Obamacare opponents” has led Republicans to “sabotage the process” of setting up the government-run healthcare exchanges.
“Still, here’s what it seems is about to happen: millions of Americans will suddenly gain health coverage,” promises Krugman, “and millions more will feel much more secure knowing that such coverage is available if they lose their jobs or suffer other misfortunes.”
Look for Republicans to begin co-opting Krugman’s raising of Obamacare expectations to set the bar of success sky-high before the January 2014 unveiling, and the midterm congressional elections to follow thereafter.
On Monday, a CNN poll found that 54% of Americans oppose Obamacare, with just 43% supporting it.