Reason Writers Around Town: Associate Editor Peter Suderman on Health Care and the Elections in the Manhattan Institute's Medical Progress Today


In the Manhattan Institute's health policy newsletter, Medical Progress Today, Reason Associate Editor Peter Suderman looks at how health care politics might have affected last week's elections—and how the outcome of those elections could shape the future of the health care debate.

How much did the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act hurt Democrats at the polls this year? And how will the changes brought on by the November election shape health care policy debates in the years to come?

As President Obama said the day after the vote, Democrats took a "shellacking" in the midterm election, losing 60 seats in the House and at least six seats in the Senate. Those losses came as poll after poll showed that more Americans opposed the health care overhaul—arguably the party's most significant legislative achievement—than supported it. Exit polls suggested that it was the second-most important issue for voters, after jobs and the economy. While it's always tricky to definitively isolate the effect of a single policy, even President Obama admitted, in a post-election interview on 60 Minutes, that the health care law had been "politically costly" for Democrats.

That wasn't what was supposed to happen. Prior to the health law's passage, Democratic leadership confidently predicted that it would prove a political winner.

Read the whole thing here.