Ezra Klein gives us a progress report on Obamacare:
A spin through HealthCare.Gov this morning went smoothly. The site loaded quickly. The process progressed easily. There were no error messages or endless hangs….My experience isn’t rare. There are increasing reports that HealthCare.Gov is working better — perhaps much better — for consumers than it was a few short weeks ago. “Consumer advocates say it is becoming easier for people to sign up for coverage,” report Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein in the Washington Post.
….Reports from inside the health care bureaucracy are also turning towards optimism. People who knew the Web site was going to be a mess on Oct. 1st are, for the first time, beginning to think HealthCare.Gov might work….The Obama administration is certainly acting like they believe the site has turned the corner. Somashekhar and Goldstein report that they’re “moving on to the outreach phase, which had taken a back seat as they grappled with the faulty Web site.
….It’s clear that HealthCare.Gov is improving — and, at this point, it’s improving reasonably quickly. It won’t work perfectly by the end of November but it might well work tolerably early in December. A political system that’s become overwhelmingly oriented towards pessimism on Obamacare will have to adjust as the system’s technological infrastructure improves.
I think the best translation of that last sentence is, “Republicans will soon have to find something else to gripe about.” But it won’t work. Conservatives have always known that once Obamacare is up and running, it will become a popular program that’s impossible to repeal. That’s one of the reasons they’ve been so frantic to stop it before January 1. And they’ve been right about this. People respond far more passionately to the prospect of losing something than they do to gaining something, and once they have Obamacare they’ll fight to keep it. In a few months, it will be nearly as enshrined in the American social welfare firmament as Social Security and Medicare.
Republicans have run out of time, and they know it. Their fixation on Obamacare already looks sort of balmy—this weekend’s deal with Iran was designed to draw attention away from Obamacare? Seriously?—and it’s only going to look loopier as time goes by. Getting Obamacare to the end zone wasn’t easy, and Obama almost fumbled the ball at the one-yard line, but he’s finally won. There’s nothing left for conservatives to do. Love it or hate it, Obamacare is here to stay.