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Affordable Care Act Is Not Working Better Than Anyone Expected

Paul Krugman’s defending President Obama

Paul Krugman has new Rolling Stone article In Defense of Obama, but he decides he needs some historical revision for his defense. He claims the Affordable Care Act is “working better than anyone expected.” From their article:

Then technical difficulties with the HealthCare.gov website seemed to threaten disaster. But here we are, most of the way through the first full year of reform’s implementation, and it’s working better than even the optimists expected.

We won’t have the full data on 2014 until next year’s census report, but multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, probably around 10 million, a number certain to grow greatly over the next two years as more people realize that the program is available and penalties for failure to sign up increase.

I don’t know how this could be called beyond what “optimists expected.” After all, the Congressional Budget Office report four years ago projected the number of uninsured would drop by 18 million from 2013 to 2014. It is true Republican governors refusing to expand Medicaid is part of the reason the drop in uninsured wasn’t as as big as predicted. Analysis shows that could result in 6.7 million more uninsured by 2016, but even accounting for this it looks like the numbers came just under target. President Obama’s decision to delay the employer mandate also deserves some blame, though. It is a major revenue generator and coverage expander which is still not in place yet. If Krugman really thought these CBO numbers were beyond optimistic four years ago he should have said something at the time.

On the positive side, Krugman does remember these CBO reports pointed out exchange premiums were slightly lower than projected four years ago, but that is partly because the overall economy has significantly underperformed from 2010-2014, and the exchanges allowed insurers to offer slightly worse packages than the CBO thought they would.

On the negative side, it is fair to say building and running the exchanges went much worse than most people predicted, and it is more difficult to help people select policies on the exchanges than was originally promised.

The drop in uninsured is slightly smaller, premiums are slightly better, and the structure is not as user friendly as was hoped. While the law is functioning better than some of the absurd Republican doomsday predictions about it, it is working roughly as reasonable experts said it would from the start.

Photo by Zé Carlos Barretta under Creative Commons license

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Affordable Care Act Is Not Working Better Than Anyone Expected

Paul Krugman’s defending President Obama

Paul Krugman has new Rolling Stone article In Defense of Obama, but he decides he needs some historical revision for his defense. He claims the Affordable Care Act is “working better than anyone expected.” From their article:

Then technical difficulties with the HealthCare.gov website seemed to threaten disaster. But here we are, most of the way through the first full year of reform’s implementation, and it’s working better than even the optimists expected.

We won’t have the full data on 2014 until next year’s census report, but multiple independent surveys show a sharp drop in the number of Americans without health insurance, probably around 10 million, a number certain to grow greatly over the next two years as more people realize that the program is available and penalties for failure to sign up increase.

I don’t know how this could be called beyond what “optimists expected.” After all, the Congressional Budget Office report four years ago projected the number of uninsured would drop by 18 million from 2013 to 2014. It is true Republican governors refusing to expand Medicaid is part of the reason the drop in uninsured wasn’t as as big as predicted. Analysis shows that could result in 6.7 million more uninsured by 2016, but even accounting for this it looks like the numbers came just under target. President Obama’s decision to delay the employer mandate also deserves some blame, though. It is a major revenue generator and coverage expander which is still not in place yet. If Krugman really thought these CBO numbers were beyond optimistic four years he should have said something at the time.

On the positive side, Krugman does remember these CBO reports pointed out exchange premiums were slightly lower than projected four years ago, but that is partly because the overall economy has significantly underperformed from 2010-2014, and the exchanges allowed insurers to offer slightly worse packages than the CBO thought they would.

On the negative side, it is fair to say building and running the exchanges went much worse than most people predicted, and it is more difficult to help people select policies on the exchanges than was originally promised.

The drop in uninsured is slightly smaller, premiums are slightly better, and the structure is not as user friendly as was hoped. While the law is functioning better than some of the absurd Republican doomsday predictions about it, it is working roughly as reasonable experts said it would from the start. (more…)

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com