Thursday, January 08, 2015

Real politics

The Affordable Care Act (ACA,"Obamacare") is apparently not popular with many Americans. But stay tuned; not all of the law has kicked in yet. To quote a prominent House leader, "we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it."  That is one way to digest 2000+ pages of law. Why so much heft? There were apparently many Bootleggers and Baptists to bring on board.

Finding out what is in this monstrosity is now slowly happening and some likely erstwhile supporters are not happy. Harvard faculty have recently been vocal about the fact that their ox is being gored. This post at The Incidental Economist includes a chart that makes the point.  Harvard faculty enjoyed a generous plan that is subject to an Obamacare "Cadillac" (high-end plan) tax. To avoid it, Harvard is making some changes that reduce coverage --slightly. Read the whole post.

It is interesting that ACA defenders talk as though the choices are the pre-ACA status quo or ACA. Another path would be to de-regulate insurance and medicine to the point where something close to a market emerges. Let people shop and make choices with respect to insurance coverage and care; give them the incentives to take lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, etc.) seriously. Provide vouchers to those below the poverty line.

But a simpler and common sense approach would leave Bootleggers and Baptists in the cold. It is amazing that the textbooks still teach a "median voter model" -- whereby policies and programs preferred by a mythical median voter are enacted.


Health Care Policy 101 (by Arnold Kling)