Obamacare: Both the Best and Worst of Obama’s Presidency

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The verdict on Barack Obama’s presidency won’t be rendered for years or decades — if even then, given the continuing revision of a president’s legacy that inevitably takes place after a term ends. But after Obama has spent almost five years in office, Americans are certainly in a position to think about his greatest achievements and biggest failures so far. That’s what Gallup asked them to do as part of its December 5-8 survey.

These perceived achievements and failures will do much to outline history’s verdict of Obama’s eight years in office. The recent attention given to the implementation of his health care reform law is by no means temporal. Policy analysts judge the Affordable Care Act to be hugely important to the president’s legacy, primarily because it represents one of the clearest examples of Obama’s political philosophy – that is, his belief that government is “the very engine of collective action and the ultimate source of national greatness,” as political commentator Charles Krauthammer recently wrote in an op-ed for the Washington Post.

The December poll conducted by Gallup echoes a similar line of thought: The Affordable Care Act was chosen by respondents as both his greatest achievement and biggest failure, an indication that no matter an individual’s political inclinations, health care reform is hugely important in guiding the trajectory of the United States into the future.

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