An earlier poster said that one of the main goals of health reform was to slowly wean us off of our stupid system in which our health insurance is tied to our jobs. On that note, my own two cents:
I still expect the law to be upheld completely (I’d put the odds of that at just over fifty percent, maybe 55% or something), but if the mandate falls (along with the guaranteed issue and community rating provisions) a lot of the key goals of health reform would still be able to go into effect ss long as the state-based insurance exchanges and the Medicaid expansion are able to survive SCOTUS scrutiny. In that event, what we’ll essentially be left with is universal coverage for poor and lower middle-class people but further difficulties for everybody else at the middle-income levels; still, the exchanges and federal subsidies to buy insurance would at least help to disengage us from the employer-based coverage model we have now, and that alone is worth applauding.
Onto the OP: Yes, I think that it’s safe to say that the Pubs did an excellent job at demonizing health reform in the eyes of the general public, but a lot of that was facilitated by the Dems’ stupidity. I’ve said it before, but seriously, it was a fuckin’ boneheaded decision to not have the bulk of the ACA kick in until FOUR FUCKING YEARS after the bill actually passed. Maybe they thought that the public would instantly warm up to it, or that the GOP would eventually stop its health reform witch hunt, but in any case the law should have been fully rolled out within the first year or two of its passage in order to garner up public support. People would’ve realized the benefits immediately and (probably) would’ve loved the law, but instead all they’ve had up until now is the GOP screaming into their ears about some hypothetical future reality in which health reform has turned the US into communist Russia or something.
If the law survives SCOTUS review and is allowed to be completely implemented, it’ll likely go down as one of the most popular pieces of legislation in history. If not…well, state-by-state reform is going to be the way forward for the foreseeable future. The problem with that, though, is that most states don’t want to touch health reform.