In a March 18 opinion column in the New York Times Paul Krugman writes about the success of the Affordable Care Act in “Hurray for Health Reform.”
He writes in part:
To understand the lies (about the Affordable Care Act), you first have to understand the truth. How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?
For most people the answer is, not at all. In particular, those receiving good health benefits from employers would keep them. The act is aimed, instead, at Americans who fall through the cracks, either going without coverage or relying on the miserably malfunctioning individual, “non-group” insurance market.
He goes on to pan the critics, call them liars and claim that costs are not understated and that there has actually been some mitigation of health care costs even before the most significant sections of the Act are implemented.
Mr Krugman is known as a smart man and I suppose he is, but he is also an ideologue.
In his article he ignores key points and focuses on the most obvious supposed benefits of health care reform – adding millions more to a very flawed unsustainable system. He picks and chooses “facts” and I suspect he has not read many of the reports from the Congressional Budget Office nor is he apparently aware of what is happening among employers and eventually to employees as a result of this Act.
No matter, he makes the key point for anyone seriously concerned about the impact (or lack thereof) of the Affordable Care Act in the above quote. “How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?” “For most people the answer is, not at all.”
You see, the primary goal should never have been to expand coverage, but rather to change the system to truly make health care more affordable so that the need to expand government subsidized health care was minimized. In true liberal fashion we have gone at this ass backwards.
And no, those with good health benefits from employers will not keep them because employers are seeing an opportunity to make major changes in their benefits and in the employer role in providing coverage as a direct result of the Affordable Care Act. They are also seeing increasing costs despite the temporary lull in the rate of escalation for health care premiums.
At this stage it is impossible to say the Affordable Care Act is a success or failure no matter how smart you may be. It will be many years before we know the real results of the scores of initiatives started through Medicare or the full cost of new mandates and government subsidizes or the ultimate impact on workers with good coverage today and especially the final impact on the federal budget.