Since before it became law, the Affordable Care Act had acquired two things: Its nickname as Obamacare, and its additional tag as a pending nightmare. Opponents of this health care plan for the nation loudly argued that it was counter-productive and far too socialistic for a freedom-loving republic. And not only was it a bad idea for those reasons, it just wouldn't work, either. Obamacare was destined to become a nightmare, they said.The Nightmare that is Obamacare
The ACA was doomed, said the naysayers, because it was simply too big and cumbersome to work as intended, and the people resented the mandate that they must now buy health insurance or be penalized with a surcharge on their income tax. This, they felt, was an illegal government intrusion that the people would not tolerate. The courts would strike it down. The states would not support this federal legislation. The people would rebel against this illegally encroaching imposition.
Conservatives made up the most ardent opposition to the ACA, despite the original ideas having mostly come from conservatives, and the final bill, itself, being a conservative-dominated version of the law.
Obamacare became the headache and the nightmare of conservatives. But as the opposition closed ranks, their objective was to make certain that this new program became the boondoggle of the liberals who supported it. Democrats would be punished politically for their support of this "nightmare." The rhetoric flowed freely from the ranks of conservatives, who mounted repeated efforts to repeal the law.
When the Supreme Court challenge to the law was summarily defeated and the first phase went into effect, the focus of opposition fell on the new website that floundered aimlessly for far too long. The Obama administration had foolishly placed the development and execution of the website in the hands of a conservative Republican-owned business that had every reason to thwart the smooth and efficient implementation of the program. The resulting difficulties were "proof," for conservatives, that the ACA would not and could not be trusted to provide what was intended without massive and uncontrollable problems and expense. Thus began the Democratic version of the Nightmare that is Obamacare.
Democrats began to edge away from support for the new law and its troubled website. The approaching midterm elections made liberals nervous about possible losses due to their campaigns being linked to the messy start for Obamacare's website. As an albatross, the Nightmare of Obamacare fell heavily on Democrats.
But then a funny thing happened. The website flaws were alleviated, and the implementation of the law began to smooth out. The first month of the initial open enrollment period was a considerable disappointment for the administration and for Democrats. But after that first month, Obamacare enrollment picked up steam. By the close of the enrollment period, the target of 7 million newly insured citizens was passed, as a total somewhere between 8 and 10 million have signed up, most of whom having coverage for the first time.
Despite Republican efforts to discourage advertising any benefits of the law and to discourage citizen enrollment, the ACA has enjoyed a remarkable recovery from its initial clumsiness. Due to benefits received, the public's acceptance of Obamacare is anticipated to increase slowly over time, as did acceptance of Medicare when it was first launched.