Krugman: Obamacare’s Doing Great, But, Say, What About A Public Option?

Excitable Paul Krugman has decided to chime on on Aetna mostly pulling out of the Obamacare exchanges, something many other health insurance providers have done, which is just a bump in the road, you know. So much so that we should institute government run insurance

(NY Times) More than two and a half years have gone by since the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, went fully into effect. Most of the news about health reform since then has been good, defying the dire predictions of right-wing doomsayers. But this week has brought some genuine bad news: The giant insurer Aetna announced that it would be pulling out of many of the “exchanges,” the special insurance markets the law established.

This doesn’t mean that the reform is about to collapse. But some real problems are cropping up. They’re problems that would be relatively easy to fix in a normal political system, one in which parties can compromise to make government work. But they won’t get resolved if we elect a clueless president (although he’d turn to terrific people, the best people, for advice, believe me. Not.). And they’ll be difficult to resolve even with a knowledgeable, competent president if she faces scorched-earth opposition from a hostile Congress.

Paul seems to forget that this law is the sole possession of Republicans. No Republicans voted for it, none wanted it. The majority of the public did not want it, and still don’t.

Meanwhile, the bad things that were supposed to happen didn’t. Health reform didn’t cause the budget deficit to soar; it didn’t kill private-sector jobs, which have actually grown more rapidly since Obamacare went into effect than at any time since the 1990s. Evidence also is growing that the law has meant a significant improvement in both health and financial security for millions, probably tens of millions, of Americans.

It’s artificially increased premiums and deductibles, caused tens of millions to lose the coverage plan they liked, and, yes, it did kill private sector jobs. Heck, in deep Blue New York, there was a reduction in hiring, not too mention what has been happening all over the place, which is hours being reduced, and full time positions replaced with part time ones.

Anyhow, after some interesting blamestorming, we get to something that we were told was not something that liberals were actually advocating for (but seems to keep cropping up)

Beyond all that, what about the public option?

The idea of allowing the government to offer a health plan directly to families was blocked in 2010 because private insurers didn’t want to face the competition. But if those insurers aren’t actually interested in providing insurance, why not let the government step in (as Hillary Clinton is in fact proposing)?

No, it was blocked because Democrats weren’t quite ready to bring their even bigger Big Government plans to the table. The citizens were already quite vocal about the massive expansion Democrats were pushing against the wishes of the citizens, who would have preferred dealing with the economy, and didn’t want the Democrats mucking around with their health insurance and health care.

That said, there may still be room for action at the executive level. And I’m hearing suggestions that states may be able to offer their own public options; if these proved successful, they might gradually become the norm.

Just remember, saying that Democrats want to replace Ocare with single payer is just a crazy conspiracy theory, according to Democrats.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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