Hooray for Obamacare! How’s it doing?

No matter your politics, you must respect a Nobel Prize winning economist when he speaks in economic terms. The following is pulled from yesterday’s New York Times editorial by Paul Krugman.

Hooray for Obamacare!Paul Krugman

“Was I on the edge of my seat, waiting for the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? No — I was pacing the room, too nervous to sit, worried that the court would use one sloppily worded sentence to deprive millions of health insurance, condemn tens of thousands to financial ruin, and send thousands to premature death.

It didn’t. And that means that the big distractions — the teething problems of the website, the objectively ludicrous but nonetheless menacing attempts at legal sabotage — are behind us, and we can focus on the reality of health reform. The Affordable Care Act is now in its second year of full operation; how’s it doing?

The answer is, better than even many supporters realize.

The editorial goes on with a point-by-point analysis [read the details here] and concludes with:

What conservatives have always feared about health reform is the possibility that it might succeed, and in so doing remind voters that sometimes government action can improve ordinary Americans’ lives. That’s why the right went all out to destroy the Clinton health plan in 1993, and tried to do the same to the Affordable Care Act. But Obamacare has survived, it’s here, and it’s working. The great conservative nightmare has come true. And it’s a beautiful thing.”

Obamacare — It’s just one step in the right direction

EDITOR: People who follow Modern Health Talk know me as a consumer advocate in favor of health reform because Americans spend twice as much on health care as other nations but still live sicker and die younger. Without serious reforms to our existing systems, this trend will get worse as 10,000 baby boomers reach retirement age every day. And as they age and need more care in the sunset of their lives, they could easily stress institutional care beyond the breaking point.

As noted in dozens of health reform articles on this site, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, ACA, or just Obamacare) was an important first step, but we still need more… steps forward, not back. I remain optimistic because I see so many of the right things falling into place, but that optimism is guarded. My pause comes from the corrupting influence of big money in politics, the fact the healthcare industry spends twice as much on political lobbying as the military industrial complex, and the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission held that corporations have First Amendment rights and that the government can’t restrict campaign spending by any person or organization.