With a pen stroke, the president signed into law a health insurance expansion that had previously been deemed “socialized medicine” and had drawn fierce criticism from conservatives.
No, the president wasn’t Barack Obama, and the legislation wasn’t the Affordable Care Act. Nearly 50 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson enacted Medicare and Medicaid amidst passionate opposition to the program that has since become widely ingrained in the fabric of society.
But as liberals celebrate the anniversary of Medicare, it’s Obamacare that comes to mind. The hope for liberals: that the shift in perspective on Medicare foreshadows a shift to eventual popularity for Obamacare.
“Before Medicare came into law, one Republican warned that ‘one of these days, you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it once was like in America when men were free.’ That was Ronald Reagan. And eventually, Ronald Reagan came around to Medicare and thought it was pretty good, and actually helped make it better,” Obama said in a 2013 speech in Maryland. “So that’s what’s going to happen with the Affordable Care Act.”