PAUL KRUGMAN | New York Times | May 26, 2013
The Affordable Care Act, a k a Obamacare, goes fully into effect at the beginning of next year, and predictions of disaster are being heard far and wide. There will be an administrative “train wreck,” we’re told; consumers will face a terrible shock. Republicans, one hears, are already counting on the law’s troubles to give them a big electoral advantage.
No doubt there will be problems, as there are with any large new government initiative, and in this case, we have the added complication that many Republican governors and legislators are doing all they can to sabotage reform. Yet important new evidence — especially from California, the law’s most important test case — suggests that the real Obamacare shock will be one of unexpected success.
Before I can explain what the news means, I need to make a crucial point: Obamacare is a deeply conservative reform, not in a political sense (although it was originally a Republican proposal) but in terms of leaving most people’s health care unaffected. Americans who receive health insurance from their employers, Medicare or Medicaid — which is to say, the vast majority of those who have any kind of health insurance at all — will see almost no changes when the law goes into effect.