Jonathan Cohn’s Failed Defense of Obamacare October 5, 2014Posted by geoff in News.
Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic wrote a defense of Obamacare a week ago, raising 7 points that he thinks show how Obamacare has been successful after its first year.
- More people have health insurance.
- People who are getting health insurance are almost certainly better off.
- “Winners” probably outnumbered “losers” in the new marketplaces.
- Premiums in the marketplaces aren’t rising quickly, and more insurers are jumping in to compete.
- Employer premiums also aren’t rising quickly.
- Overall health care costs are rising at historically low rates.
- The net effect on the budget has been to reduce the deficit.
That sounds great, like the plan is working as intended and everybody’s happy now, right?
But ahem. As usual I have a million problems with these claims. And as usual I have a chart. I say “a” chart because I’m just going to focus on #6 for the moment (Mickey Kaus went after #3 and #4): the notion that health care costs are rising really slowly.
He shows this chart, which immediately makes me suspicious, because bundling up the years like that smears the data and smacks of cherry-picking:
So let’s see how that looks when we actually plot it out year-by-year:*
Oh yeah. Starting from 1990, just like they did, we find that the average rate of increase since then (the sexy blue dotted line) is exactly equal to the projected rate of increase henceforth (the green line beyond 2013). So there is no “historically low rate” – that’s a figment of his Obamacentric imagination.
*(I apologize for not having data between 1991 and 1999. The CMS data I found in reports that covered those years is inconsistent with the data they currently report (I checked 1990, and 2000-2004). So I left it out. It’s around 13% during the 90’s)