It’s all over but the shouting: Obamacare is working.Jason Millman at The Washington Post:
All the naysaying in the world can’t drown out mounting evidence that the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature domestic achievement, is a real success. Republican candidates running this fall on an anti-Obamacare platform will have to divert voters’ attention from the facts, which tell an increasingly positive story. [...] Why was the Affordable Care Act so desperately needed? Because without it, 54 million Americans would currently have no health insurance. Within three years, according to the CBO, Obamacare will have slashed the problem nearly in half.
The health-care law's expansion of insurance coverage will cost $104 billion less than projected over the next decade, according to revised estimates from nonpartisan budget analysts Monday. Obamacare's lower-than-expected costs will come largely because premiums will be cheaper than previously thought. [...] The CBO report points out that it previously thought Obamacare's exchange plans would look more like employer-based coverage, but that hasn't turned out to be the case so far — hence, the cheaper premiums. "The plans being offered through the exchanges this year appear to have, in general, lower payment rates for providers, narrower networks of providers, and tighter management of their subscribers’ use of health care than employment-based plans," CBO wrote.More on this story below the fold.
Paul Krugman at The New York Times:
The current state of public opinion on health reform is really peculiar. If you’ve been following the issue at all closely, you know that the Affordable Care Act is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations. But hardly anyone seems to know that.Nathan L. Gonzales at Roll Call:
[...] here we have smart, pro-reform people living in a state where reform is going really well. And they don’t know it!
In part this may reflect the Obama administration’s lackluster job so far in getting the word out. But it also, I think, reflects a persistent anti-ACA tilt in news coverage. In the final days of March I wrote about the de facto blackout on the obvious surge in enrollments; if you weren’t reading Charles Gaba and/or bloggers who followed him, you were in the dark about a huge developing story. And this tilt has continued.
If you needed anymore evidence that this Game of Anecdotes is coming, the Republican National Committee has been collecting Obamacare stories since early March. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched FacesOfRepeal.com way back in January to feature stories of people who say their lives would be negatively affected if Republicans had their way.Neil Gabler at Reuters looks deeper into using anecdotes for persuasion:
So how much of a difference will these anecdotal ads make, particularly in the same race?
That might be one of the biggest unanswered questions of the entire election cycle.
Admittedly, anecdotes are an appealing way to dramatize issues. But, as the Boonstra ad and the winter stories demonstrate, there is a problem. However captivating they are, anecdotes often undermine facts – and the truth. Yes, they provide a story, but they seldom provide the whole story. What we get is often misleading, sometimes downright deceptive.
We are especially afflicted in this country. Americans seem to have a greater fondness for anecdotes than citizens of any other nation. Newscasts invariably have human-interest segments; every guest on late-night television must come armed with a funny little story, and no recent State of the Union address is complete without the president pointing up to the gallery and telling the heart-rending stories of his guests there. You could say that we live in Anecdotal America where, as the poet William Carlos Williams said, there are “no ideas but in things.”
Though many anecdotes are harmless, they can be worrisome when it comes to public policy — where anecdotes now abound.