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January 02, 2014 9:51 AM Where Is Obama Hiding the Death Panels?

By Ed Kilgore

It was a snarky throwaway comment from Wonkblog’s Evan Soltas at the beginning of a long post on the first full day of Obamacare implementation, but an important point nonetheless: “[F]irst day of Obamacare, zero death panels so far.”

We sometimes forget that the popularity of the Affordable Care Act has been affected not just by the sort of breathless minute-by-minute assessment of the law’s implementation we’ve been treated to since October, and the complaints of this or that interest group focused on the injustices allegedly meted out to this or that sub-population, but also by stuff just made up out of thin air by demagogues.

It’s long been understood that once ACA fully took effect, it would finally benefit from a significant number of beneficiaries—above all people locked out of health insurance because of preexisting conditions—with something tangible to lose from its repeal or evisceration. But it’s equally true that the non-materialization of some of the more lurid accusations about Obamacare will (or should) slowly sow some doubts about the law’s opponents.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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