Predictions about the federal health care law, Obamacare, were a dime a dozen back in 2010. Supporters contended that virtually everyone around the country would soon have access to affordable insurance. Opponents said the law would cost a fortune by adding to the national debt and killing jobs. Actually, none of those things have happened. The law has taken twists and turns, moving off course from where everyone thought it would be. Once expected to insure 32 million new Americans by the end of the decade, the projected target was downgraded to 27 million by 2015. Unforeseen developments, like significant changes in health cost trends and a sweeping Supreme Court decision on Medicaid expansion, have meant the insurance provisions in the law will cost $139 billion less over the rest of the decade. That has quieted some critics who expected massive, deficit-inflating costs. The law has steadily navigated toward its overall goal of decreasing the number of uninsured Americans, without dramatically disrupting the overall health care industry, for better or worse. Yet.
"The whole thing has been in much slower motion that what was predicted," said Michael Tanner, health care analyst with the libertarian Cato Institute. "Whether you thought something good was going to happen or something bad, you sort of thought it would have happened by now. Instead, it’s just been creeping along."