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Friday, June 26, 2015

Paul Krugman: Hooray for Obamacare

Health care reform is succeeding:

Hooray for Obamacare, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Was I on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? No — I was pacing the room, too nervous to sit, worried that the court would use one sloppily worded sentence to deprive millions of health insurance, condemn tens of thousands to financial ruin, and send thousands to premature death.
It didn’t. ...
The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing? The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.
Start with the act’s most basic purpose, to cover the previously uninsured. Opponents of the law insisted that it would actually reduce coverage; in reality, around 15 million Americans have gained insurance. ...
What about costs? In 2013 there were dire warnings about a looming “rate shock”; instead, premiums came in well below expectations. ...
And there has also been a sharp slowdown in the growth of overall health spending, which is probably due in part to the cost-control measures, largely aimed at Medicare...
What about economic side effects? One of the many, many Republican votes against Obamacare involved passing something called the Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act... But there’s no job-killing in the data: The U.S. economy has added more than 240,000 jobs a month on average since Obamacare went into effect, its biggest gains since the 1990s.
Finally, what about claims that health reform would cause the budget deficit to explode? In reality, the deficit has continued to decline, and the Congressional Budget Office recently reaffirmed its conclusion that repealing Obamacare would increase, not reduce, the deficit.
Put all these things together, and what you have is a portrait of policy triumph...
Now, you might wonder why a law that works so well and does so much good is the object of so much political venom — venom that is, by the way, on full display in Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissenting opinion, with its rants against “interpretive jiggery-pokery.” But what conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives.
That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.

    Posted by on Friday, June 26, 2015 at 09:24 AM Permalink  Comments (29)


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