Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The "Success" of Obamacare (Now Bernstein is on the Aircraft Carrier)

Jared Bernstein  is running with Paul Krugman's definition of "success.":

This is simply an odd way to declare success.  I am waiting for a photo op pic of Krugman and Bernstein standing on the aircraft carrier Obamacare.

I wrote in 2014 about this problem:
[S]houldn't the measure of success be how well Obamacare is in delivering healthcare, not  how many have signed up? I may declare that I am going to give everyone in the world a million dollars, who emails me their address, but the measure of success of my million dollar program should't be how many sign up for the program, but how well I deliver on the promise to pay everyone who signs up a million dollars. And this is where Krugman's declaration that Obamacare is a success makes no sense.
It is only over time that we will see how well that Obamcare delivers on its promise to deliver quality healthcare. But further, any half-way decent economist will tell you that central planning, and Mussolini-type central planning of healthcare is exactly at the essence of Obamacare, is a terrible structure to create efficiency, increased productivity and overall improved delivery of products and services to consumers. In other words, Krugman is ignoring they basic fundamentals of economics, taught to us by such greats as Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek and Murray Rothbard, about the necessity of failure of central planning structures, He is declaring victory for Obama simply because Obama has signed people up for a medical structure that economic theory tells us will be a failure!



  1. And you can't call something successful based on the number of people that sign up when they literally have a gun to their heads if they don't sign up.

    Kind of like saying that the Holocaust was a success because so many Jews participated.

  2. Hold on, we spent billions of dollars building exchanges, offering subsidies, exempting per-existing conditions from rate determination and backstopping losses at insurers participating in the exchanges to drop the uninsured rate a lousy 3%? If that isn't an indication of failure, I don't know what is. I know your average lefty assumes we live in a world of unlimited resources, but even the most math and finance challenged among them can run the numbers and see these are dismal results.

    1. It was drop of 3% points, not 3%.

    2. True, but its only a 3 percentage point drop in the RATE of uninsured. For example, if 20% were uninsured before, now "only" 17% are uninsured. This means Obamacare has been only 15% successful (3%/20%) on it's claim that it would provide insurance to all. That's an enormous failure.

  3. So are they going to call it a failure when a recession sends the total of people with health insurance back 10+ years?

    I like how the chart does not actually show the number of people with health insurance. It was definitely worse at one point. Even if it's "better" now, they wouldn't want that inconvenient truth in the history.

    Another issue is whether or not they're including the large increase of people on Medicaid, which has gone almost unmentioned by the state media. Bragging about that is a good way to get in trouble because everyone and their dog knows that most doctors don't take it.

  4. Considering it was the first year in which the IRS would fine anybody who went without health insurance, and that state governments and the federal government took billions of dollars from the economy and gave it to people for the sole purpose of purchasing health insurance, this result really is no surprise, nor should it be a cause for celebration.

    Mr. Wenzel is doing well to make sure the focus remains not just on these kind of short term results, but more importantly on the actual long run impacts on delivering real care to patients.

    I recently saw Tom Woods interview a physician who is using his own time and resources to care for patients, and the main reason his prices and costs are competitive is because he doesn't take insurance. I wonder how long it will be until the feds crack down on his practice...

  5. Excuse me if I'm not impressed with this result. First of all, 2014 was the first year in American history that it was against the law not to have health insurance... Also, it should come as no surprise that a program can take billions of dollars from the economy, allocate them all to the health insurance sector, and then see results like this.

    Mr. Wenzel is doing well to prevent people from succumbing to the most prevalent fallacy in economics: judging a policy based on its immediate effects on a single group of people. As he points out, what really matters is how well this program will deliver care to everybody in the long run.

    Interestingly, Tom Woods recently interviewed a physician who is using his own time and money to deliver care to patients, and he keeps his costs down doing the opposite of Obamacare: rejecting insurance. I wonder how long it will take for the feds and insurance cronies to crack down on his free-market practice...

  6. ALS patients get access to experimental drug — but not in U.S.

    In theory, programs like the one set up by Neuraltus and Clinigen Group plc's Idis managed access unit are the proverbial win-win: Patients get early access to a drug that may (or may not) help them; and a company, as Neuraltus CEO Rich Casey explained to me earlier this year, gets reimbursed by payers and gets additional data about the drug.

    But while a managed access program is much less controlled than a clinical trial, Casey said, there's no playing with the dosing — the dose suggested is what the patient gets. The drug will be provided by Idis to individual ALS patients who meet established eligibility criteria, set by government regulators, following a doctor's request.

    Idis will make the drug, called NP-001, available immediately in select European countries and gradually expand to other nations on the continent over the next year.

    In the United States, such programs are more difficult to undertake. Companies often balk at supplying a drug before they have more information about it, commonly late in Phase III trials, and patients typically pay for the drug out of pocket.

    But if any disease could be the exception to the rule, it might be ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.