It's Thanksgiving, and hope and optimism ought to be contagious, even for an old curmudgeon like me, but I'm not feeling it. Yesterday Josh Marshall wrote "A Realist's Take on Obamacare," which is a series of reasons why it's rational to expect Obamacare to be preserved and, ultimately, to be a success. One reason Josh doesn't think repeal will ever be possible is this:
By early next year you will have millions of new people enrolled in Medicaid, large numbers of people who have health care covered who couldn't get it at any reasonable price before who now have coverage and you will have large numbers of people who have care that is better or cheaper and often both than it was before. Yes, you will also have people who had barebones policies who will have to buy into more expensive policies with fuller coverage. On balance, those people will tend to be more politically connected and visible, person for person, than the people on Medicaid for instance. But all evidence shows the first three groups will vastly outnumber the last group. I do not think anyone will be able to claw that back. It's one thing to have millions of uninsured or people boxed out because of pre-existing conditions. But once they have affordable coverage, I don't think you're going to be able to take it back.But he says this at the same time the right is altering the concept of citizenship in a number of different ways. We see this in the voter-suppression efforts in the red states, we see it in Citizens United, we see it, really, in the broad-based acceptance among conservatives of the notion that elections simply don't have consequences if they're won by Democrats. And while we don't know how the Supreme Court will rule on the contraceptive mandate, the right-wing position did get me thinking about Mitt Romney a couple of days ago:
@AdamSerwer "Makers" have religious freedom. "Takers" don't. That's Wingnut 101 -- only "makers" are entitled to full citizenship.— Steve M. (@nomoremister) November 26, 2013
I think the right really does believe that Hobby Lobby is a citizen and people just now learning that they qualify for Medicaid aren't citizens -- or at least the right believes that second-class citizenship should apply to those who are happy that they qualify for Medicaid or subsidized health insurance. I think the right's efforts to dehumanize the less well off would make it a lot easier than we think just to strike millions of people from the health care rolls. I think the right-wing worldview is headed more and more in Mitt Romney's direction -- it just won't have Richie Rich as its figurehead in the future.
I suppose eventually the GOP-voting white heartlanders who also benefit from Obamacare will understand their self-interest -- or at least it seems logical that they will. But I've been waiting for self-interest to change heartland voting patterns for a long time now. When does the future begin?