The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein and I have finally found something on which we can genuinely see eye-to-eye. Klein writes, “The stakes this year are higher — and most voters know it.” He explains, “The most important fact of the 2012 election is that the Affordable Care Act [Obamacare] was passed in 2010; it just hasn’t been fully implemented yet. If President Obama is reelected, the bulk of it will roll out on schedule in 2014.”
“[The] health-care act is key because, unlike challenger Mitt Romney’s tax reform plan or Obama’s deficit-reduction plan, voters can truly count on it….
“If Obama is reelected … we will see the first iteration of a uniquely American universal health-care system. If history is any guide, it will become effectively permanent soon after it is introduced….
“If Romney wins, the Affordable Care Act will probably be fully or largely repealed....[If he] wins and Democrats still hold the Senate, they’re unlikely to have a cushion of more than a vote or two. It’s possible that [even] the Senate’s most conservative, endangered Democrats will resist Romney’s call for repeal...but I wouldn’t bet much money on it.”
“In addition to being the central policy at stake in this election, the Affordable Care Act is the centerpiece of Obama’s legacy. If he’s reelected, he will go down in history as the president who finally provided almost every American with health insurance. That’s enough to elevate him to the pantheon of transformative presidents….
“If he loses, he will go down in history as a one-termer who gambled and lost on universal health care….
“It seems absurd that the line between a transformational presidency and Jimmy Carter II might be a sliver of one percent of the vote in Ohio. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
“Which is all to say that, yes, this election matters more than most. It matters more…to actual people because the Affordable Care Act is poised to reshape American health care in two years. A vote for Obama is a vote for the law to take effect….A vote for Romney is a vote for the law — and its spending and its taxes — to be repealed. There are few elections in which the stakes are so clear.”
I could hardly agree more.