Americans have long attached a stigma to the idea of universal health care. This stigma has traditionally been related to the fear that universal care smacked of socialism. The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, bore some of this attachment between universal care and socialism in the minds of many Americans. However, it fundamentally changed the idea that the government had a bigger hand in healthcare.
Traditionally, only veterans, the poor, and the elderly have had coverage via the government. Both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt, as well as Harry S. Truman, argued for universal healthcare. They were not successful in bringing it to fruition. Instead, employers used health insurance as a benefit in an attempt to lure the best and most talented employees. Lyndon Baines Johnson was able to get healthcare for the poor and elderly through with the passage of Medicaid and Medicare. Because of the targeted nature of these programs, public healthcare seemed as though it were a crutch that only benefited those who could not take care of themselves.
The ACA, however, changed some of this rhetoric. Perhaps most important was its forcing insurance companies to accept anyone regardless of pre-existing conditions. Most Americans now realize that the ability of insurance companies to deny people who have pre-existing conditions could negatively affect them or someone they love. Most people will eventually wind up with a medical condition, some of which might be quite minor, and insurance companies would be able to deny coverage or charge massive premiums that have the basic effect of keeping people from buying the insurance.
This makes very good sense from the insurance companies’ point of view. They are in the business to make money, and they do not make money by paying off insurance claims for sick people. They make money from taking premiums from relatively healthy people. However, this business model negatively affects the finances of ordinary Americans. The lack of adequate provisions that protect people who have pre-existing conditions in the most recent Republican health plan has drawn opposition from a wide range of Americans, some of whom would not have raised an eyebrow prior to the passage of Obamacare.
Americans are now beginning to see healthcare as a fundamental right as human beings and American citizens. Increasingly, they are also beginning to see that the government should have a hand in ensuring this care. This makes the idea of a single-payer system more attractive. It is only a question of how long it will take most ordinary Americans to opt for this type of a system and encourage their representatives to make it a reality. Of course, there will be opposition from insurance companies, as they would likely see this impact their profits.