11 years later, the Affordable Care Act is still ‘a big f—ing deal’

Political Theater, Episode 193

Since the early days of the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the law has defined politics in both parties.  (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Since the early days of the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the law has defined politics in both parties. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Jason Dick
Posted March 24, 2021 at 2:40pm

This week marks the 11th anniversary of Barack Obama’s signing of the Affordable Care Act, something Joe Biden, then the vice president, now the president, famously described as a “big f---ing deal.”

He was right. And, in retrospect, it’s become a bigger deal with each passing year. That’s because the United States has long lagged behind other industrialized countries in expanding access to health insurance for its citizens. And those signature moments when the federal government enacts such legislation are few and far between.

For this episode, CQ Roll Call health editor Rebecca Adams and I discuss those big moments and their public health and political effects: the Affordable Care Act of 2010, the expansion of Medicare’s prescription drug program in 2003, the Children’s Health Insurance Program of 1997 and the granddaddy of them all, the Medicare and Medicaid Act of 1965.