It seems to me that if you want to write about a health care-related political error, the thing to focus on is the exquisitely slow pace at which the Affordable Care Act will be phased on. If you’re an ACA-supporter, which presumably the people who voted “yes” on the program are, you have to believe that this is a good program that, when in place, people will like. But since the main benefits won’t exist until 2014, that means ACA proponents need to go through the 2010 and 2012 cycles with few concrete benefits to point to.
What’s more, the phase-in is so delayed for pretty crassly political reasons — it made the short-term CBO score look better. So the moderate members of congress and White House operatives who put so much weight on that CBO score really ought to be looking around the country and asking themselves how much benefit their reaping from that score today? As best I can tell, no benefit whatsoever. By contrast, members with a program to point to could say “hey, this guy wants to take your program away!” At a minimum, folks who like the ACA might have more morale if it were actually in place.