Ezra Klein: “Obama’s signature accomplishment is succeeding beyond all reasonable expectation”

September 6th, 2014

Ezra Klein lays down a marker about Obamacare:

But less than 10 months after major media outlets were hosting debates with headlines like “Is the Affordable Care Act Beyond Repair?”, Obama’s signature accomplishment is succeeding beyond all reasonable expectation.

As part of my research for my next book, I went through every single Obamacare-related post on Wonkblog (Klein’s former blog) from June 2013 through May 2014. It was fascinating to trace the evolution of the commentators, such as Klein, Yglesias, and others before Obamacare launched.

Here are a few of my favorite quotations:

  • Matthew Yglesias (7/17/13) – “Obamacare implementation is going to be a huge political success”
  • Paul Krugman (7/17/13) – Obamacare is “the right’s worst nightmare.”
  • Jonathan Cohn (7/18/13) – “President Obama on Thursday touted some good news about Obamacare. And, lord knows, he’s earned the right. Republicans and conservative intellectuals keep seizing on setbacks—some real, some imagined—and predicting that Obamacare will be a catastrophe. They are almost certainly wrong.”
  • Ezra Klein (7/18/13) – “If I were betting, I’d say stories about various problems in the implementation of Obamacare will be a net negative for Democrats in 2014, and after that, the program will cease to matter much politically at all — even as it works pretty well, and the coverage it offers is pretty popular. The key thing to remember about how people will experience Obamacare is that most people won’t experience it at all, and those who do experience it will never, ever experience a program named “Obamacare.””

Let’s revisit Klein’s most recent statement in 1 year.