In Sept. 2010, six months after signing the Affordable Care Act and just weeks before his party’s massive losses in the midterm elections, President Obama wondered whether the law’s unpopularity might be due to a communication failure on his part. “Sometimes I fault myself,” he told an audience in Virginia, “for not having been able to make the case more clearly to the country.”
There was nothing wrong with the president’s communication skills. The case he made for his sweeping health care overhaul was straightforward and appealing: It would make health insurance available to every American, especially the more than 40 million people who were uninsured. It would significantly reduce insurance premiums for individuals and families. It would guarantee that Americans who already had a health plan they liked, or a doctor they liked, would be free to keep them.