Have the Republicans and the right-wing movement in this nation overplayed their hands during the health care debate? Is this a case similar to the "boy who cried wolf"? I submit that they have.
Let's start with what this new health care law is not:
It is not a government health insurance plan that everyone has to buy
It is not a universal system similar to medicare
It is not a system like they have in Canada or France or Cuba
It is not a one-size-fits-all public plan
It is not a single payer system
It is not a socialized health insurance system
However, for the last 3 years, hour after hour, day after day, the right-wing message control machine has been screaming and bleating these claims over and over and over. In fact, they succeeded in entirely saturating the public debate. On every radio station and every cable news network, the debate focused around "socialized medicine" and a "government plan" and so on.
While these absurd claims have worked at scaring a certain subsection of Americans, over time, the effect of these claims has worn off. Now, this health care bill is the law of the land. It has passed all three branches of government: the congress passed it, the president signed it, and the supreme court has ruled that it is constitutional.
In order for this bill to be repealed, it would require an overwhelming majority in both houses of congress and a Republican president, and it would be political suicide to take away benefits from people now that it's been passed. Simply put, as much as the right wing is pouting, the fact is that this bill is not going to be repealed. I'm calling it now, just like I called the exact supreme court ruling 2 years ago.
So looking forward, has the right-wing damaged their cause by playing their cards too strongly during this fight? According to the right-wing machine, America now has a one-size-fits all government-controlled public plan that everyone must participate in. That is apparently the law of the land. So say in 2 years, when other parts of this law start to fall into place, lawmakers push for a non-profit Public Option to compete with private plans in the Health Care Exchanges?
We have health care exchanges now, and people are required to purchase health care from it, wouldn't it be easy to argue that there should be a non-private, non-profit option available? After all, people seemed furious at the idea of being forced to buy a private product, it only seems right to offer a low-cost non-profit alternative. What would the right-wing say about this? Would they call it a socialist plan? Would they call it government-controlled health care? Would they call it a one-size fits all plan? Would they call it anti-capitalist?.........OH WAIT.... They already said all those things. If this debate comes up in two years, the republicans will be assuming that we already have all those things, so what could they possibly say to argue against a public option? The boy who cried wolf.
They said all they could already, there would be nothing left to say about a public option that wasn't already said about this plan as it is. If it turns out that people enjoy the added benefits that come with this plan, and in retrospect they think that the Republicans were exaggerating or lying during this debate (the same way many people feel about the War on Terror and Patriot act), then any arguments the Republicans use will fall on deaf ears.
Suppose a few years after that, a movement grows to have a medicare-for-all or true single-payer system of socialized medicine. What would the Republicans say about that? What would the arguments be against that? That this socialized medicine? That it's single-payer? that it's one-size fits all? oh no...they've been saying that for the last half decade...and the argument doesn't work anymore. According to the Republicans, We got government run socialized medicine back in 2010, so what is there to argue about?
If, as many republicans believe, this is just one step in several steps towards single-payer socialized medicine, then you guys have overplayed your cards in the first round, and you have no arguments left. The public has accepted that we have a government-run socialized medical system, so when these things really come to pass, they all accept it far easier because they are used to it.