It would get popular
"I think as people learn about the bill, and now that the bill is enacted, it's going to become more and more popular," Sen. Chuck Schumer said in 2010, just a few days after Obama signed the law. "I predict "¦ by November those who voted for health care will find it an asset, those who voted against it will find it a liability."
Schumer was hardly the only one expressing this optimism. The process of getting Obamacare passed was brutal for Democrats, but many in the party truly thought the heat would die down between 2010 and 2014, when the law's central provisions kicked in. The debate got to a point where there was no way to win the rhetorical wars over health care, so Democrats' plan was largely to get it done, wait it out, and hope people warmed up to the law once it transitioned from a political abstraction to a set of real-world policies, most of which are pretty boring.
It didn't work.
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The Kaiser Family Foundation has been measuring public approval of the health care law every month since it was signed, and the bottom line has stayed the same: people are closely divided over the law and lean against it. This month, Kaiser's poll found 43 percent disapproval for the law, compared with 41 percent approval, which is within a few points of most months. There have been a few blips, where approval topped disapproval or where one side cleared 50 percent, but they're never lasted. Public opinion seems deeply ingrained.
It would be the end of Medicare
"The legacy for Medicare is going to be devastating. If you're a senior citizen in South Carolina and New York, you're going to lose your Medicare Advantage," Sen. Lindsey Graham said in 2010, debating Schumer on "Meet the Press."
Similarly, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan aggressively attacked Obamacare in 2012 for its Medicare cuts, arguing that they undermined the program's stability. And critics from both parties have taken aim at the Medicare Payment Advisory Board, a new cost-cutting board, arguing that it will eventually lead to "rationing" or Medicare benefit cuts.
But the bipartisan Medicare trustees say the Affordable Care Act has actually extended the program's solvency, perhaps by more than a decade. That's mainly a product of the cuts Republicans have criticized, which come from payments to doctors and other providers (not directly from benefits).
And enrollment in Medicare Advantage — the privately administered plans Graham referenced — is growing, despite the law's cuts to MA plans. Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown by more than 40 percent since Obamacare passed, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But insurers say further cuts to Medicare Advantage will force them to scale back benefits or increase premiums.
It would be the end of private insurance
This prediction never made much sense, but some of the law's critics embraced it anyway: that the law would eviscerate the health insurance industry and could, ultimately, put it entirely out of business.