Remember how much President Obama and the Democrats portrayed Obamacare as a broadside to the special interests, especially the health insurers?
Nancy Pelosi said of the insurance companies, "They are the villains in this." Obama pitched the bill as an improvement on a system that "works well for the insurance industry, but it doesn't always work well for you."
This sort of talk happened because the White House figured out this was a way to sell the bill to the public. The Washington Post reported at the time:
The message is no accident, as the president's chief pollster made clear in a rare public speech last month. Joel Benenson told the Economic Club of Canada that extensive polling revealed to the White House what many there had guessed: People hate insurance companies.
As is typical of Obamacare, the language used to pitch the law has not proven true in fact.
"[S]ince the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership," writes Robert Pear at the New York Times, "that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment."
The Times article is well-reported and thorough. Here's a good nugget:
In 2010, as Democrats attacked the insurance industry for what they said were its high prices and discriminatory practices, no company was more of a target than WellPoint, which had sought rate increases of up to 39 percent in California. But WellPoint, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in a number of states, is now prospering.
This dovetails with what I've been seeing for years. It was the health industry that has pushed states to expand Medicaid and build Obamacare exchanges — a loss for taxpayers. And here's an example that shows how the gains made by Obama and the insurers is a loss for patients: Obamacare's regulations create a moat around the existing insurers and protect them from competition.