Monday, August 19, 2013

I hope Krugman's right on Obamacare

Paul Krugman thinks President Obama will hang tough on the essential elements of his Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka, Obamacare.

And he thinks the program will win substantial support (One Reform, Indivisible New York Times 08/18/2013):

I guess that after all the years of vilification it was predictable that Republican leaders would still fail to understand the principles behind health reform and that this would hamper their ability to craft an effective political response as the reform’s implementation draws near. But their rudest shock is yet to come. You see, this thing isn’t going to be the often-predicted “train wreck.” On the contrary, it’s going to work.

Oh, there will be problems, especially in states where Republican governors and legislators are doing all they can to sabotage the implementation. But the basic thrust of Obamacare is, as I’ve just explained, coherent and even fairly simple. Moreover, all the early indications are that the law will, in fact, give millions of Americans who currently lack access to health insurance the coverage they need, while giving millions more a big break in their health care costs. And because so many people will see clear benefits, health reform will prove irreversible.

This achievement will represent a huge defeat for the conservative agenda of weakening the safety net. And Republicans who deluded their supporters into believing that none of this would happen will probably pay a large personal price. But as I said, they have nobody but themselves to blame.
I hope he's right. It was a risky approach. But hopefully as the most popular features kick in and millions of people realize that they and/or their children other relatives and acquaintances can now get good health health insurance where they couldn't before, they will lean toward demanding fixing the parts that are deficient rather than abolishing the whole thing.

Time and the quality of implementation and the kind of defense the Democrats make for the program will eventually tell whether the ACA was adequate to move health insurance in the right direction or too flawed to survive politically.

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