As noted in my prior blog entry, in the 18th century there was a medical device called a tobacco smoke enema, which was used to resuscitate drowning victims. However, it was ultimately discovered that blowing tobacco smoke up dead persons arses had no medical benefit, and from there, "blowing smoke up your ass" was born, i.e. telling someone a lie that she/he wants to hear.
Well, In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Health Reform Lives!," Paul Krugman blows smoke up the president's arse. Claiming that Obamacare remains a success notwithstanding recent "not-great" news concerning Obama's legacy-creating reform of America's health care system, Krugman writes:
"Sooner or later, of course, there were bound to be some negative surprises. And we’re now, finally, getting a bit of bad, or at least not-great, news about health reform.
First, premiums are going up for next year, because insurers are finding that their risk pool is somewhat sicker and hence more expensive than they expected. There’s a lot of variation across states, but the average increase will be around 11 percent. That’s a slight disappointment, but it’s not shocking, given both the good news of the previous two years and the long-term tendency of insurance premiums to rise 5-10 percent a year.
Second, some Americans who bought low-cost insurance plans have been unpleasantly surprised by high deductibles. This is a real issue, but it shouldn’t be exaggerated. All allowed plans cover preventive services without a deductible, and many plans cover other health services as well. Furthermore, additional financial aid is available to lower-income families to help cover such gaps. Some people may not know about these mitigating factors — that’s the problem with a fairly complex system — but awareness should improve over time."
An average increase of only 11 percent in 2016? Remarkably, this Nobel prize winner fails to observe that inflation in the US is currently running at some 0.2 percent. Or stated otherwise, an 11 percent increase in the cost of health care insurance is disastrous for many Americans.
"[S]ome Americans who bought low-cost insurance plans have been unpleasantly surprised by high deductibles"? As Robert Pear wrote in a November 14, 2015 New York Times article entitled [my italics] "Many Say High Deductibles Make Their Health Law Insurance All but Useless":
"Obama administration officials, urging people to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, have trumpeted the low premiums available on the law’s new marketplaces.
But for many consumers, the sticker shock is coming not on the front end, when they purchase the plans, but on the back end when they get sick: sky-high deductibles that are leaving some newly insured feeling nearly as vulnerable as they were before they had coverage.
'The deductible, $3,000 a year, makes it impossible to actually go to the doctor,' said David R. Reines, 60, of Jefferson Township, N.J., a former hardware salesman with chronic knee pain. 'We have insurance, but can’t afford to use it.'
In many states, more than half the plans offered for sale through HealthCare.gov, the federal online marketplace, have a deductible of $3,000 or more, a New York Times review has found."
Sorry, Paul, but Obamacare is proving as effective as a tobacco smoke enema.