2742980047If you stayed up late on election night, you probably were as sick as I was: Mitch McConnell in charge of the U.S. Senate and John Boehner still in charge of the House.

We don’t know for sure at this point the new Republican majority’s precise agenda. But you can be sure that there will be a heightened attack on government’s capacity to meet people’s needs. We’ve already seen this in recent politically motivated attacks on Obama administration policies in areas like Ebola and immigration. It is our job as progressives to not only hold government accountable, but also to uplift government when its warranted, therefore shifting the debate away from the right-wing message that government always means failure.

The second year of open enrollment under the Affordable Care Act, which began on November 15th, presents the perfect opportunity for us to do just that. The success of Obamacare after the “glitches” in the first few weeks of open enrollment last year is real. Over 100,000 people signed up through the federal web page on November 15th and 16th: the first weekend of the second year of open enrollment. Around 1 million New Yorkers signed up during open enrollment’s first year. Millions nationwide now have low-cost health insurance and other benefits like free preventive care. (For a summary of the ACA’s benefits to New Yorkers, see this summary handout and this flyer with the stories of average New Yorkers.)

And those in the best position to evaluate the law like it. 92% of those responding to a recent survey who actually received health coverage through NY State of Health, our state’s health insurance marketplace, are satisfied with their coverage. Around the same percentage said that that they had greater piece of mind. 78% said they had greater financial protection from big bills. The law is achieving the central goal of providing greater health and economic security for Americans.

The attacks on the law can be expected to resume in 2015, when the new Congress settles in. Until then, there’s one simple step you can take to defend the law and in the process, advance the progressive agenda: urge your friends, family members and anyone else you know to get covered. Continued high enrollment numbers will be a dramatic demonstration that government can work and build a fortress against a substantial weakening of the law in the form of real people in our communities who will resist losing their coverage.

Citizen Action’s research and education arm, Public Policy and Education Fund does enrollment under the ACA (including Medicaid and Child Health Plus) and can advise people as to what health plans best meet their needs. Our trained staff navigators focus on the Capital District, the Hudson Valley and Western New York, but we can guide people who contact us from other regions of the state. Call 800.803.8508 or email [email protected] to get someone connected with a PPEF navigator!