Well, not really but he sure knows how to spin things the White House way. His latest column is a gem. For example:
First, premiums are going up for next year, because insurers are finding that their risk pool is somewhat sicker and hence more expensive than they expected. There’s a lot of variation across states, but the average increase will be around 11 percent. That’s a slight disappointment, but it’s not shocking, given both the good news of the previous two years and the long-term tendency of insurance premiums to rise 5-10 percent a year.
Wait a minute, wasn’t Obamacare supposed to lower health care cost and isn’t it claimed that health care cost increases have slowed? Now average increases above the long-term trend are simply a slight disappointment? And by the way, the coverage mandate, and the reinsurance pools were supposed to mitigate the adverse selection; they haven’t.
Second, some Americans who bought low-cost insurance plans have been unpleasantly surprised by high deductibles. This is a real issue, but it shouldn’t be exaggerated. All allowed plans cover preventive services without a deductible, and many plans cover other health services as well. Furthermore, additional financial aid is available to lower-income families to help cover such gaps. Some people may not know about these mitigating factors — that’s the problem with a fairly complex system — but awareness should improve over time.
Tell that to my daughter who must come up with a few thousand dollars to cover the deductible to have my granddaughters tonsils removed and ask her doctor why he wants $500 in advance. And then multiply this experience a few million times for average Americans who are not eligible for additional financial aid.
The reality is that Obamacare is an imperfect system, but it’s workable — and it’s working.
Lets see, it hasn’t controlled costs or reduced the trend rate, subsidized premiums have been traded for much higher out-of-pocket costs, enrollment suffers from adverse selection and it’s about half of what was projected for 2016, employers reacting to higher costs created by the ACA, have increased cost-shifting to workers dramatically, the Co-op non- profit plans are mostly a bust and the claimed savings for accountable care organizations are spurious.
But hey, “it’s working.” Is Krugman actually an economist?