The pitchforks are changing hands. In 2009, it was Democratic members of Congress supporting health-care reform who were set upon by outraged constituents. When they passed the Affordable Care Act anyway, it cost their party control of Congress in the 2010 midterm elections. House Republicans subsequently voted more than fifty times to repeal or cripple the A.C.A. Nineteen Republican-led states spurned the offer of federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage. In January, Donald Trump's first act as President was to order government agencies to avoid implementing, as much as is legally possible, what has become known as Obamacare.
But Obamacare, it turns out, has done a lot of good. It guarantees that people with preëxisting health conditions cannot be rejected by insurers or charged more than others. It has reduced the number of uninsured people by twenty million. It has increased access to primary care, specialty care, surgery, medicines, and treatment for chronic conditions. Patients are less likely to skip needed care because of the cost. As a result, according to studies conducted at Harvard, the A.C.A. is saving tens of thousands of lives each year.