The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is at best a halfway measure. With the same effort, Obama could have pursued a single payer option and probably gotten it passed. ACA is said to be Obama's "signature legislative achievement." It is also a testament to his method. Obama believes in compromise. He sees rancor and division as cancers. ACA is quintessential Obamian compromise with all of its contradictions on full display.
ACA in its current form is cumbersome, technically challenged, and overly kind to an outrageously corrupt American health care industry. It does, however, do two very important things: It provides an architecture for better, fairer health care for many more Americans, and perhaps more importantly, it opens a forbidden door.
What this new law says is quite dangerous -- to some. It says that the public interest has a place at the table when decisions are made about how the nation's health care system functions. It says that profit is not the only consideration when medical treatment is needed. It says that the health care industry is part of society, and needs to act like it.
When George W. Bush said he wanted to build an "ownership society," he meant that he wanted ownership of society. What the ACA says is no, that's not acceptable.
Have no illusions, ACA does not vanquish the health care overlords from our lives. It does, however, create a small but vitally important chink in their armor, and a crucial first step towards future progress.
Republican members of Congress, on behalf of the health care industry, are engaged in an all-out, manic battle to derail ACA by any means necessary. Their desperation clearly reveals their fear. Minority rule is in decline and the very wealthy minority doesn't like it.
Go to healthcare.gov tomorrow and sign up. The time for change is now.