According to the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, if you just ignore the millions of Americans who have gained insurance through the Affordable Care Act, then it's clear that the law is a huge mess.
Over seven million Americans enrolled in health insurance through the ACA's exchanges by the end of the open enrollment period last week, a number that met the Congressional Budget Office's original sign-up estimate.
But if we “put aside” that success and “step back,” Noonan argued in her April 3 column, then it becomes clear that the ACA is a “huge, historic mess.” In other words, if you pretend that millions haven't been insured by the ACA, it's obvious that the law is an utter failure.
And trying to repeal this mess is comparable to fighting a “manic” sea creature underwater:
Given a program whose complexity is so utter and defeating that it defies any normal human attempt at comprehension, two things will happen. Those inclined to like the spirit of the thing will support it on the assumption the government knows what its [sic] doing. And the opposition will find it difficult to effectively oppose--or repeal the thing--because of the program's bureaucratic density and complexity. It's like wrestling a manic, many-armed squid in ink-darkened water.
After comparing the passage of the ACA to the decision to invade Iraq, Noonan dismissed the number of previously uninsured Americans who now have coverage:
What the bill declared it would do--insure tens of millions of uninsured Americans--it has not done. There are still tens of millions uninsured Americans. On the other hand, it has terrorized millions who did have insurance and lost it, or who still have insurance and may lose it.
Of course, estimates show that at least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gained coverage through the exchanges and Medicaid expansion, an expansion Noonan simultaneously misrepresented and criticized.
One would expect this huge manic squid mess to be a political winner for the GOP in 2014 and 2016. But not so fast, concluded Noonan: Republicans “cannot run only on Obamacare this year and later.” It appears even she is not convinced by her own ACA analysis.