This just in: A guy changed his mind about Obamacare

October 3, 2013

Butch Matthews has changed his mind about Obamacare. BCBS has been jacking up his rates for years, and Matthews—who self-identifies as a "very strong Republican"—was skeptical that the health-care law would help him any. But it is helping: through Arkansas's new insurance exchange, Matthews can spend $13k less each year for a better plan with a lower deductible.

For some people, this might create a frustrating cognitive dissonance. They might explain away the role of the law they'd already decided they didn't like, or simply refuse to talk about it at all anymore. Matthews did something both simpler and rarer: he admitted that he was wrong. His advice to other Obamacare skeptics?

I would tell them to learn more about it before they start talking bad about it. . . Be more informed, get more information, take your time and study and not just go by just what you hear on one side or the other. Actually check the facts on it.

I still am a very strong Republican, but this… I’m so happy that this came along.

What's suprising about this story is how surprising it is. Guy thinks a change to the insurance marketplace won't help him personally, turns out it does, guy stands corrected. Not exactly headline news except that OMG someone admitted he was wrong about Obamacare.

I've always supported the health-care reform law, and I remain mostly optimistic about it (despite this week's tech glitches). But the point I take from Matthews isn't that people will agree with me about stuff once they have the facts. It's that if Obamacare's coverage expansions don't work out as well as we supporters expect them to, we should acknowledge this—rather than going down the endless path of confirmation bias and doubling down on existing loyalties.

People talk a lot about the problems of partisanship, polarization and incivility in our public discourse. I don't think any of these is as fundamental or as destructive as the basic impulse to refuse to admit that we were wrong.