Blue Civil War
Obamacare Dysfunction Splits the Left

In 2013, the White House adopted a new social media tagline for Obamacare—”It’s. The. Law.”—intended to convey to insubordinate Republicans that the debate was over, that the policy was settled, and that the president’s signature legislative achievement should no longer be a live issue in American politics.

But now, as the cracks in Obamacare start to widen and support for the law continues to sag, a growing number of left-wing Democrats are agitating for big changes to the law as well (albeit of a very different kind). Politico reports on the battle over the public option that is splitting the party:

A liberal attempt to revive the so-called public option — a government-run insurance plan to shore up gaps in the Affordable Care Act — is opening old wounds between the Democratic Party’s liberal and moderate wings.

Thirty-three mostly liberal Democrats, including all the Senate leadership, have signed onto a nonbinding Senate resolution introduced last Friday to add the public option to Obamacare, arguing that it is needed to fix problems with the president’s signature health care law.

Future debates over the future of the Affordable Care Act won’t just pit Republicans against Democrats; they will pit scorched-earth “repeal!” Republicans against more incremental reformers, and status-quo “it’s working!” Democrats against an increasingly vocal single-payer wing. As we’ve indicated before, our sympathies lie mostly with the reformers: The key to making healthcare more accessible is controlling the growth of costs, something that can only be achieved by leveraging the full force of market competition and the information revolution.

But no matter which faction wins the day, one thing is clear: Despite the White House’s best efforts, the battle over the future of the Affordable Care Act will not be over for quite some time.

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