For the last four years, we have all been inundated by "Obamacare" news and coverage: the Democrats hailing it is a major win for average middle-class families, and the Republicans branding it as "Obama's Waterloo."
Regardless of which side you find yourself on, I think we can all appreciate the interesting moments we've had along the way.
Nancy Pelosi, for instance, telling Congress they "have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it." Other favorites of mine included Dick Durbin referring to Romney as the "baby daddy" of Obamacare or Paul LePage likening the IRS to the "new Gestapo" (because the IRS and the Gestapo are definitely comparable).
To sum it up with the ever-eloquent words of Joe Biden, "it's a big f------ deal." I can honestly say I will miss hearing politicians debate the Affordable Care Act constantly just because the dumb things they say about it tend to be highly entertaining.
Not everyone will give up this debate, just those who are aware enough to understand that, for the time being at least, it's not going away. Now that the open enrollment period has officially passed, all we can do is wait and see what happens. About half of the states made the decision to expand Medicaid in 2014, while several – including Tennessee – have declined and several more are still debating.
So far, 9.5 million people now have coverage under the ACA, and it's estimated that at least 27 percent of those people were uninsured before its passage. Recent studies (LINK: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obamacare-uninsured-national-20140331,0,5472960.story#axzz2xeeAsUKF) are showing the amount of people who are uninsured has fallen at least 3 percent:
Gallup reported it fell from 18 percent to 15 percent, while McKinsey & Co. reported it is now 16 percent, down from 20. Unfortunately, about 4.7 million people simultaneously had their old insurance plans cancelled because of regulations set forth in the ACA.
Effects of the ACA are not limited to individual insurance plans. It seems increasingly likely the disastrous rollout and ongoing glitches with the exchanges are going to wield a significant blow to the Democratic senators in the November midterm elections.
Senators such as Mary Landrieu, Kay Hagan and Mark Begich face a particularly tough election climate given the nature of their constituencies – all of these senators represent states that are distinctly red and not particularly receptive to President Obama. If the Republicans were to win the Senate in November, it would seriously alter what kind of policy Obama will try to implement for the remainder of his term.
How worried are the Democrats? They plan to spend about $60 million on extra support for campaigns in the most competitive states.
That being said, we will be feeling the consequences of the ACA for a long time. Obama may have gotten the law passed and people actively enrolling, but he also may have shot himself in the foot in terms of maintaining the Democratic majority in the Senate. It's widely known Democrats tend to not show up for the midterms the way they do for presidential races, and if that trend continues this fall it will likely be detrimental to the Democrats.
The performance of HealthCare.gov in the coming months will not only change how people are insured, but it could also set the tone for how Congress will function for the next few years.
Katie Dean is a junior in political science. She can be reached at email@example.com.