There are many reasons the Affordable Care Act's rollout has been such a disaster, and sure, some of them have (R)s next to their names. "But a large part of the problem was the underlying ideological outlook that shaped the original proposal," Princeton professor Julian Zelizer argues in a CNN op-ed. "The ACA was a product of … half-baked liberalism." Since the 1990s, Democrats have been peddling "jerry-built proposals" that rely on nudging market-based actors in the right direction without spending much money.
That's politically wise, but "it has come at a huge long-term cost to the strength of the programs." Unlike, say, Social Security—simple, government-run, and highly popular—these public-private Frankensteins tend to be hard to implement, hard to understand, and easy to demonize. They often fail to address the central issue, while "giving private industry a chance to reap profits off the policy." That's all true of the ACA, and it should "be a wake-up call for liberals that it might be worth fighting for something." Click for his full column. (Read more Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act stories.)