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Cash for Clunkers

Given the rise in PPACA premiums, do we get to rename the program? On a slightly more serious note, recall the vitriol spewed (ex post of course) at “economists” who for some reason were not able to predict the Great Recession. I had quipped why/whether political scientists are not, now, being excoriated for what is happening this election cycle?

But on an even slightly more serious note, do we just get to conveniently forget that the vast majority of economists, during the debates over the passage of the PPACA, predicted what was going on today? Do we forget the vitriol (we hate the poor, we hate the sick, etc.) that was spewed at us as we talked about the perverse incentives and additional regulations imposed by the law and how they may lead to premium increases, doctors not wanting to be part of the system (some of them) and insurers wanting to drop out of the system? And what of the thousands of other cautious flags “we” put up when similarly poorly structured policies are put in place?

Of course, as you need not be reminded, politics is not about policy. My prediction then, as it is now, on the PPACA is that it is simply a crow-bar for additional interference in the health care sector. It will surely be said that today’s “capitalist” health care system doesn’t work, as evidenced by the lack of supreme success of the PPACA, and the way toward single payer is much easier now that the first few steps have been taken. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, they say.

By the way, for the record again, I would have supported the PPACA if instead of becoming the jumbled massive mess that it became, we took one simple objective of “having more people access health insurance” and focused clearly and simply on that. Surely there may be political reasons to favor or not favor that, but conditional on those disagreements, there are vastly simpler and better ways to help people get insurance than the mess we created. But that is obviously not how policymaking works.

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