The debate over Obamacare is giving Aaron Carroll déjà vu:
Let’s all take a deep breath and appreciate what’s going on. Health care is expensive, and changing the health care system is scary. But when Medicaid was passed, tons of people panicked. They claimed that it would bankrupt the states. They claimed that the feds would renege on their promises. They claimed that it was a backdoor to socialism. They claimed that doctors would be paid much less. They claimed that doctors would leave the program in droves. They claimed that no one liked the law. They predicted doom. It didn’t happen.
It’s easy to scream that the sky is falling. Remember when Ronald Reagan told us that Medicare was the death of freedom?
At some point, though, you have to look around and realize that things just ain’t that bad. We’ve heard these arguments before. They didn’t come to pass. States have all embraced Medicaid. The feds never broke the bargain. Docs made a fortune in the 80’s. There are more medical school applicants than ever before. At some point, we have to stop giving these arguments so much weight. Obamacare will not be perfect. Neither will the Medicaid expansion. We’ll need to fix them. But neither will bring about the end of the republic, just as no health care reform in any other country resulted in the end of democracy itself.