After the nation’s major social program finally became law, critics regularly blamed it for a slowing economy and a swelling federal bureaucracy. Fierce congressional opposition led to the formation of a blue-ribbon panel to overhaul the measure. Obamacare in 2013? Not quite. It was Social Security in 1937.
Meanwhile, after enrollment began for the far-reaching health insurance initiative, administrators wrestled with myriad, unexpected problems. Implementation, according to the man who oversaw the introduction of Medicare in 1965, “took the form of a whole year of consultation with literally hundreds of people in identified areas of concern.”
The tortuous, often controversial implementation of both Medicare and Social Security serves as an early template for the current controversies over the Obamacare rollout. The ultimate success of those social programs ought to calm the overheated atmosphere surrounding the first days of enrollment for the Affordable Care Act.
Obamacare is but a few weeks old, and partisan opponents like Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) have already denounced supporters of the fledgling program — comparing them to Neville Chamberlain and other appeasers of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. Even thoughtful critics like former George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson are depicting the healthcare insurance program it as an “intellectual crisis for modern liberalism.”