Krugman: Obamacare will be a problem for Republicans

5/26/2013 07:42:00 PM
Paul Krugman thinks that the ACA (Obamacare) will continue to be a major political issue, but not the one republicans wanted:
"Well, the preliminary numbers for CA are in — and they’re looking very good, with costs coming in below expectations. At this point, it looks as if this thing is indeed going to work.
"And think about the political dynamics. Because the Supreme Court decided to let states opt out of the Medicaid expansion, some states — notably Texas — will have a pretty dysfunctional version of Obamacare in 2014, although even those systems will provide significant benefits to many people. Still, the whole political calculus was supposed to be that Republicans in red states could point to the horrors of Obamacare and ride them to political victory. Instead, it looks as if we’re going to see blue-state residents reaping the benefits of a functional health care system, while red-state residents are denied many of those benefits"
I think what he has left out is the political calculus if it turns out that the "cobbled together" system in the ACA doesn't work. As Krugman points out
"The Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, is a policy Rube Goldberg device — instead of doing the simple, obvious thing, which would just be to insure everyone, it basically relies on a combination of regulations and subsidies to rope, coddle, and nudge us into a rough approximation of a single-payer system."
which is just a way of saying that the ACA was supposed to be the minimal government approach to healthcare reform. If it fails, the "obvious thing" would simply to go all out with government-issued health insurance, Canadian Medicare style.

The point is that Medicare is what conservatives fear--if they really are against government-run healthcare, they ought to be rooting the ACA on.