Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Affordable Care Act Is No Longer Affordable

That's not me (or at least, not just me).  It's the solidly progressive Democratic governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, echoing the recent remarks of Bill Clinton, declaring, “The reality is the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people.”  His comments were prompted by the news that Minnesota ACA policyholders are facing premium increases of 50 to 67 per cent next year.

Of course, Dayton's instinct, along with other progressives, is to double down on the academic theories that gave us the ACA, or "Obamacare", as Democrats liked to call it before it became clear it was a fiasco; more top down regulation in an attempt to control 1/6th of the American economy.   On the other hand, as Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy (D-Callow Youth) observed while talking about the moral imperative behind the passage of the ACA, "s**t happens" (okay, I'm paraphrasing; you can read his original quote here).

Speaking of those theories, The Health Care Blog just ran the fifth in a series by Kip Sullivan on the faulty analytical approach of the ACA, which was based on the theory that America's major problem in health care was overuse, and that ratcheting back on that would cure health care inflation.  Particularly enamored of this was Peter Orszag, President Obama's Director of the Office of Management & Budget (OMB), and point man during the legislative process, constantly assuring Congress and the public that the ACA would be the "magic bullet" for cost control.  In his series, Sullivan dissects the problems with the research supporting this thesis, as well as the failure of the mechanisms of the ACA as implemented to achieve it goals.  It's worth reading all five pieces, as well as the comments.

And, by the way, don't worry about Peter Orszag, he's doing just fine.  After leaving OMB, he became a senior executive at Citigroup, raking in the bucks, and is now Vice Chairman of Investment Banking and Managing Director at Lazard, where he continues to be highly compensated.  I'm sure he has a very nice health insurance policy.

("I'm Peter Orszag and I'm doing just fine!"; photo from New York Times)
https://static01.nyt.com/images/2011/04/11/us/politics/orszag-caucus/orszag-caucus-blog480.jpg

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