Daily Meme: The Demise of the Viral Obamacare Victim Story

The political ground on the Affordable Care Act seems to be shifting—perhaps enough to help Democrats in the fall, perhaps not. But as more and more information about the law's operation comes in, Republicans are having a harder time arguing that all those people getting insurance is a terrible thing.
  • Yesterday, we learned that health care spending spiked in the first quarter of 2014. Even before Republicans could open their mouths, Jonathan Chait (among other people) informed them that this was exactly what everyone knew would happen. Because when you give millions of people coverage, they go to the doctor.  
  • Simon Malloy of Salon notes that "we seem to be past the era of the viral Obamacare victim story." And after that, what can Republican candidates say? Because weirdly, "It turns out that Americans really, really like having access to affordable healthcare, and when they finally get it, they use it."
  • So Republicans are trying a new tack. They've released a report claiming that only 67 percent of people who signed up for private coverage have paid their first premium. Jonathan Cohn explains why you shouldn't believe it: "Once information like this is out there, it becomes a permanent part of the conversation. Republicans and their supporters will keep citing it, over and over again. Some will even say it’s proof that Obama is 'cooking the books'—even if it turns out that it's Republicans, not the White House, playing games with the numbers."
  • Dylan Scott shows how Shelly Moore Capito, a Republican running for the Senate from West Virginia, is carefully sort-of embracing the ACA, particularly the Medicaid expansion that has had beneficial effects in her state, one of the nation's poorest.
  • But her colleagues in Washington will not be deterred. According to multiple news reports, they're planning to use the upcoming confirmation hearings for Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be secretary of Health and Human Services as a piece of theater to pound their fists and thunder against the horrors of Obamacare. Should be enlightening.