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Markos Moulitsas: ACA proving critics wrong

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OPINION l As relentless as Affordable Care Act (ACA) opponents have been in their quest to deny Americans affordable health insurance, even they would have to admit they’ve lost ground in recent months.

Let’s start with the Koch brothers, who have spent more than $30 million in anti-ObamaCare ads, only to see the law’s popularity continue to grow. Just this Monday, an ABC/Washington Post found plurality support for the healthcare reform law for the first time ever, at 49 percent to 48 percent opposed. In November 2013, at the height of the HealthCare.gov rollout debacle, it was 40 percent to 57 percent. And polls from CNN, The George Washington University and Pew have found that a significant percentage of those opponents are criticizing the law from the left. Opposition from the right is already a minority position.

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Furthermore, that Koch-funded ad blitz had a perverse side effect: proving that the new law simply isn’t as bad as they claim. For example, a recent ad featured a leukemia victim, Julia Boonstra, claiming she had lost her insurance and doctor thanks to ObamaCare, and would have to pay higher costs. In reality, she ended up paying much less and kept her doctor, making her the latest in a long-running list of supposed ACA victims who turned out to be ACA beneficiaries.

Or what about Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’s (R-Wash.) “Bette in Spokane,” who could find a better and probably cheaper policy on the exchange to replace her $552 per month junk insurance plan but would rather go uninsured than “go on that Obama website at all?” Or Emily Lamb, another Koch-featured supposed victim who is only paying more than her previous high-risk-pool state insurance because she chose a top-of-the-line platinum plan?

There was Dianne Barrette in Florida, who lost a $54 per month Blue Cross insurance policy that failed to meet the law’s minimum guidelines but eventually admitted that ObamaCare was a “blessing in disguise.” And we saw Deborah Cavallaro crying on CNBC about losing her junk policy and failing to find an affordable option, when a bronze plan on the exchange cost as little as $194 — far less than the $293 she was paying for her junk plan.

The fact that the entire conservative machine hasn’t found a single real victim suggests there just aren’t any real victims.

Otherwise, they would’ve been found by now.

Conservatives have suffered other setbacks recently. After months of pundit chortling about low enrollment numbers, it turns out people were simply procrastinating. In a last-minute surge, the law hit 6 million new private insurance policies through the exchanges and will end close to early estimates of 7 million. Of those, 85-90 percent have already paid their first premium, shattering conservative hopes that the signups didn’t amount to real coverage.

Furthermore, according to data compiled by Charles Gaba at ACASignups.com, another 5-6 million Americans now have Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage through the law, and another 2.5-3 million are young adults still covered by their parents’ insurance. Thus, when the final first-year accounting numbers are tallied, between 13 million and 16 million people will have insurance coverage thanks to ObamaCare.

Meanwhile, Republicans will be running this November on taking that insurance away from those people, including 359,000 in Kentucky as of Monday morning. Republicans like Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell still think that’s their winning ticket. But every one of those new ACA beneficiaries and their friends, families and co-workers now have reason to defend the law. And the ballot box is a great place to do it.

Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.