In games of hide and seek, children yell "Here I come, ready or not" when the search begins. That time has come at last for the Affordable Care Act, which has been hidden in a thicket of lies and misrepresentations cultivated by its opponents.
A lot of childish spite has preceded America's new health care plan coming into the light for the first time Tuesday, with the opening of a key feature, online health insurance exchanges. Having been left behind by the health care express, conservative Republicans in the House succeeded in shutting down the whole railroad unless Obamacare, as they derisively call it, was delayed another year.
But the Affordable Care Act, unaffected by the government shutdown, comes ready or not, as it should. Calls for a delay are disingenuous. Republicans do not want to delay the law, but to kill it. If it were delayed for a year, the same circus would occur next year.
Inevitably, delays and glitches marked this opening -- nothing about health care reform has come easily -- but one reason was the volume of inquiries. Americans are getting a clear look at the practical details of the bill for the first time. It will have its flaws, but people are no longer seeing it through the biased lens of its irrational opponents, but as it actually is.
What should occur to them is that, far from being a socialistic one-size-fits-all system, private insurers are heavily involved and at first blush the competition between them is making for reasonable rates. Add to that the elimination of pre-existing health conditions as an excuse to block coverage and allowing young people to stay on their parents' insurance plans up to age 26, and Obamacare starts to look like a great deal.
This is what the critics will never say: The Affordable Care Act came into being because the old way was a disaster -- tens of millions not covered and those who did have coverage subsidizing the uninsured, an explosion in the cost of health care premiums almost annually, Americans driven into bankruptcy by health care emergencies, businesses forced to compete with foreign firms that had the unfair advantage of government picking up the health care tab.
Tuesday was the defining moment. It is the critics' turn to hide. All their claims about the supposed failure of Obamacare -- claims made before it even started -- are now out in the open for all to see.