WHAT OTHERS SAY: Best result is that reality rules again

Monday, November 12, 2012 | 2:01 p.m. CST

On Thursday, Gov. Jay Nixon announced that the federal government, not Missouri, would be designing the health-care exchange required as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The exchange is the Internet-based clearinghouse where consumers will be able to comparison-shop among health insurance plans. It’s one of the pro-consumer elements of the ACA that could force insurance companies to lower their prices to compete. At the very least, consumers will know what’s available, particularly those people who don’t get their health insurance through work.

This is part of the new reality that will sink in, very quickly, as a result of Tuesday’s election: Obamacare, as Republicans liked to call it, is here to stay.

Outwardly, that’s very much what this election was about.

Republicans built an entire campaign around replacing a law intended to increase the number of people who have access to health care. This, even though GOP nominee Mitt Romney signed off on a nearly identical law when he was governor of Massachusetts. It was the mother of all flip-flops.

We’ll never know for sure, but we don’t believe Mr. Romney ever would have repealed a law modeled on one he had championed. Some of the more popular elements of the ACA already have been implemented.

Would a Republican Congress and Republican president truly have told millions of Americans that they could no longer have the insurance they had obtained because of the ACA? Would they have told those with pre-existing conditions that they were stuck without insurance? Would they have said, “Sorry, too bad” to the millions of Americans who can now make a more informed choice about health plans?

Probably not. But when both Democrats and Republicans said this was a huge, important election, they weren’t kidding. It was.

So there is now a new reality, with President Barack Obama winning a second term and having a Democratic Senate to work with.

Here it is:

Obamacare lives. Math works. Climate change is real. People are gay. Latinos vote.

Missouri Republicans, in their mindless zeal to oppose the Affordable Care Act at any turn, actually created a situation in which the federal government, and not the state of Missouri, will be in charge of implementing the consumer-friendly details of the law. That speaks to the bizarro-world that has defined our nation’s political culture in the past couple of years.

Whether it’s Karl Rove’s “Republican math” or Mr. Romney’s ever-changing answers on matters of important public policy, the campaign to defeat Mr. Obama at any cost created an atmosphere so divorced from reality that the simple act of adding up polling numbers and averaging their results was viewed as witchcraft.

It turns out that the polls were right. Two plus two is still four. An African-American still lives in the White House.

It’s time to snap back to reality and learn from the lessons of Tuesday’s very important election.

For conservatives still unable to understand what happened, mostly because their chosen media outlets spent the past few months lying to them, perhaps starting with the words of conservative Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer will help.

In his column on Friday, Mr. Krauthammer not only used the word “amnesty” in relation to undocumented workers in this country, he embraced it. He may be cranky, but he has re-entered reality.

“Promise amnesty right up front,” Mr. Krauthammer instructed his Republican brethren.

Yes. Amnesty. Yes, that Charles Krauthammer.

That heaping dose of the new reality (which actually is the old reality of the fact-based world) is the most important result of Tuesday’s election.

The election didn’t solve our nation’s problems, but it did set a new paradigm: Reality reigns.

Copyright St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Reprinted with permission.

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