And the Democrats are rallying behind it
In politics, people rarely admit that they were wrong. Instead, they try to change the subject.
A decade ago, Democrats insisted that the Affordable Care Act would reduce the health-care costs of Americans and give the nation universal coverage. But the legislation has fallen so far short of its objectives that the party’s new generation is eager to sweep it aside in favor of Medicare for All. The associated promises are even more implausible than those made regarding the ACA, and have been privately disparaged by establishment Democratic policymakers. Nonetheless, the distraction of single-payer matters, in that it is preventing the center-left from having an honest reckoning with the ACA’s flaws.
When campaigning for the White House in 2008, Barack Obama claimed that his health-care-reform proposals would “lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year . . . by the end of [his] first term as president of the United States.” Instead, the opposite proved to be true. By requiring all health insurance to be priced the same, regardless of the buyer’s medical risk, the ACA encouraged people to wait until getting sick before purchasing coverage. As a result, health-insurance premiums for individual purchasers more than doubled in the first three years following the legislation’s enactment. Premiums for ACA-compliant plans now average $4,700 per year, and deductibles also typically exceed $3,900 — a level far beyond the median health spending of $709 per year.
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