Monday, March 19, 2012

The Sky Hasn’t Fallen Yet

Paul Krugman notes the second anniversary of the signing of the healthcare reform law — aka ACA (or Obamacare or ObamaRomneycare).

Can such a system work? It’s already working! Massachusetts enacted a very similar reform six years ago — yes, while Mitt Romney was governor. Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who played a key role in developing both the local and the national reforms (and has published an illustrated guide to reform) has surveyed the results — and finds that Romneycare is working pretty much as advertised. The number of people without insurance has dropped sharply, the quality of care hasn’t suffered, and the program’s cost has been very close to initial projections.

Oh, and the budgetary cost per newly insured resident of Massachusetts was actually lower than the projected cost per American insured by the Affordable Care Act.

Given this evidence, what’s a virulent opponent of reform to do? The answer is, make stuff up.

That’s going to become a major part of the campaign — the making stuff up part — because a recent report by the Congressional Budget Office shows that the estimates of the cost of healthcare reform will be less than projected. And we can’t have the inconvenient facts get in the way of a good campaign, now can we?

The law itself is up for review by the Supreme Court in the next week. Those in the know seem to think that it stands a good chance of remaining intact in the hands of the Roberts court, although that’s a lot of tea-leaf reading for now. It will be interesting to see how the Court rules on a law that, for the most part, hasn’t taken effect yet.