Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage from

Begala: I got a better deal through Obamacare

By Paul Begala, CNN Political Commentator
March 31, 2014 -- Updated 1556 GMT (2356 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Paul Begala: My family signed up for Obamacare since it provided better benefits, lower price
  • He says law provides greater security for folks with pre-existing conditions
  • Begala says the GOP predictions of doom from Obamacare haven't materialized
  • He says more Americans are likely to approve of Obamacare as time goes on

Editor's note: Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House. He is a consultant to the pro-Obama Super PAC, Priorities USA Action. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- I signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act last week.

I did so for one reason and one reason only: it was a good deal for my family. In fact, it was a better deal than we were getting before the ACA.

The website, which received so much (well-deserved) negative publicity when it failed to launch, is now easy-peasy. The options it generated for us were more clearly delineated than those we'd been given in the past by a private-sector insurance broker. The benefits were plainly spelled out, as were the deductibles and co-pays. We are fortunate in that we do not need subsidies, and yet the Obama exchange still found us a better deal than we had found on our own.

Paul Begala
Paul Begala

Let me be clear: this was not a political statement. This is my family's health. If I got the best care by going through Sarah Palin's website I would do so. Besides, the business decisions in our family are made by my wife, who has both an MBA and a Masters in Public Administration. I haven't had a checkbook since the Reagan administration, but because this decision was so personal and consequential, we made it as a team.

In the end, it was not a tough choice. On the one hand, we got better coverage under the ACA. On the other, it cost less. I'm not exactly a believer in Republican talking points, but even I was surprised at how obviously superior my choices are under the new law. I knew there were no death panels, and I figured a plan originated by Newt Gingrich, the Heritage Foundation and Mitt Romney couldn't truly be Marxist. But I hadn't taken the time to do the math to figure whether the ACA would be a better deal for me. It is.

The federal health exchange served me better than the private sector had. So I signed up. My doc is still my doc. My insurance company is still a private corporation - not (gasp!) a government agency. (Although I'd sign up for Medicare today if they'd let me; the government-run health insurance program for seniors is terrific.) Bottom line is, the ACA works, period.

Grading media's coverage of Obamacare
Inside Politics: Is six million enough?
Boehner: 'What the hell is this, a joke?'

And here's the beauty part: even if you choose not to use the exchanges at all, you stand to benefit from the Affordable Care Act. If you or someone in your family has a pre-existing condition, you are a winner under the ACA. Ditto if, God forbid, you have an illness or an accident that would have maxed-out your pre-Obamacare coverage limit: the ACA outlaws coverage caps. If you're a young adult who can now be covered on your parent's plan till age 26, or a Medicare patient who needs preventive care or has fallen into the Donut Hole, you come out ahead too.

Mitch McConnell: Another view on Obamacare

All of those rights -- and more -- would disappear if the Republicans repealed the Affordable Care Act. The Republican-controlled House has voted 54 times to do just that.

Despite spending millions on ads, the right is losing the debate. The latest Kaiser Family Fund poll shows that, even though the new health care law is still not popular, 59% of Americans want to keep the ACA as-is or modify it slightly. Only 18% want to repeal it altogether, and another 11% want to repeal it and replace it with a GOP alternative.

As more and more Americans actually deal with health reform firsthand, as they actually receive new rights and new benefits, and as the parade of right-wing horribles fails to materialize, I suspect support for the ACA will continue to grow.

As one of the millions of Americans who benefits from the ACA, I just want to say thanks, President Obama. And thank you, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and everyone in Congress who voted for the Affordable Care Act. (Obviously, each person's individual situation is unique. It may well be that some folks will not share my positive experience. But you have nothing to lose by checking it out.)

Thanks also to all the Republicans who voted for it. Wait, there weren't any. That's okay, I suppose. There were no Republicans who voted for the Clinton Economic Plan in 1993, and it led to balanced budgets and 23 million new jobs. The Republicans of that time predicted doom and depression if the Clinton Economic Plan passed. Their successors are predicting the same about the Affordable Care Act. And they're going to look just as foolish in the eyes of history.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 27, 2014 -- Updated 0127 GMT (0927 HKT)
The ability to manipulate media and technology has increasingly become a critical strategic resource, says Jeff Yang.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1617 GMT (0017 HKT)
Today's politicians should follow Ronald Reagan's advice and invest in science, research and development, Fareed Zakaria says.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1319 GMT (2119 HKT)
Artificial intelligence does not need to be malevolent to be catastrophically dangerous to humanity, writes Greg Scoblete.
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1505 GMT (2305 HKT)
Historian Douglas Brinkley says a showing of Sony's film in Austin helped keep the city weird -- and spotlighted the heroes who stood up for free expression
December 26, 2014 -- Updated 1303 GMT (2103 HKT)
Tanya Odom that by calling only on women at his press conference, the President made clear why women and people of color should be more visible in boardrooms and conferences
December 27, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
When oil spills happen, researchers are faced with the difficult choice of whether to use chemical dispersants, authors say
December 25, 2014 -- Updated 0633 GMT (1433 HKT)
Danny Cevallos says the legislature didn't have to get involved in regulating how people greet each other
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2312 GMT (0712 HKT)
Marc Harrold suggests a way to move forward after the deaths of NYPD officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1336 GMT (2136 HKT)
Simon Moya-Smith says Mah-hi-vist Goodblanket, who was killed by law enforcement officers, deserves justice.
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Val Lauder says that for 1,700 years, people have been debating when, and how, to celebrate Christmas
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
Raphael Sperry says architects should change their ethics code to ban involvement in designing torture chambers
December 24, 2014 -- Updated 0335 GMT (1135 HKT)
Paul Callan says Sony is right to call for blocking the tweeting of private emails stolen by hackers
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1257 GMT (2057 HKT)
As Christmas arrives, eyes turn naturally toward Bethlehem. But have we got our history of Christmas right? Jay Parini explores.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 0429 GMT (1229 HKT)
The late Joe Cocker somehow found himself among the rock 'n' roll aristocracy who showed up in Woodstock to help administer a collective blessing upon a generation.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 2115 GMT (0515 HKT)
History may not judge Obama kindly on Syria or even Iraq. But for a lame duck president, he seems to have quacking left to do, says Aaron Miller.
December 23, 2014 -- Updated 1811 GMT (0211 HKT)
Terrorism and WMD -- it's easy to understand why these consistently make the headlines. But small arms can be devastating too, says Rachel Stohl.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1808 GMT (0208 HKT)
Ever since "Bridge-gate" threatened to derail Chris Christie's chances for 2016, Jeb Bush has been hinting he might run. Julian Zelizer looks at why he could win.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1853 GMT (0253 HKT)
New York's decision to ban hydraulic fracturing was more about politics than good environmental policy, argues Jeremy Carl.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 2019 GMT (0419 HKT)
On perhaps this year's most compelling drama, the credits have yet to roll. But we still need to learn some cyber lessons to protect America, suggest John McCain.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 2239 GMT (0639 HKT)
Conservatives know easing the trade embargo with Cuba is good for America. They should just admit it, says Fareed Zakaria.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 0112 GMT (0912 HKT)
We're a world away from Pakistan in geography, but not in sentiment, writes Donna Brazile.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
How about a world where we have murderers but no murders? The police still chase down criminals who commit murder, we have trials and justice is handed out...but no one dies.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 2345 GMT (0745 HKT)
The U.S. must respond to North Korea's alleged hacking of Sony, says Christian Whiton. Failing to do so will only embolden it.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 2134 GMT (0534 HKT)
President Obama has been flexing his executive muscles lately despite Democrat's losses, writes Gloria Borger
ADVERTISEMENT