Five Years Later, the Battle Over Obamacare Rages On

Obamacare fractured the country in 2010. Five years later, pretty much nothing has changed.

The other big government welfare programs, namely Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, all faced some Republican opposition when they were passed, but quickly won relative popularity after going into effect.

Not so for the Affordable Care Act.

Its major components are now rolled out, and millions of previously uninsured Americans have obtained health coverage of one sort or another through Medicaid expansion or buying federally subsidized private plans. Yet the law still sharply splits Congress and the American public.

“I can’t think of other laws that have divided the public in the same way,” said Patrick Egan, a politics and public policy professor at New York University.

Three election cycles have passed since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, and Republicans have won dozens of seats in Congress campaigning against it. And while the law probably won’t be the central issue during the 2016 presidential elections, there’s little sign that its political controversy is fading.