In his New York Times column Monday, Paul Krugman confessed that "the run of unexpectedly good news for Obamacare has come to an end," citing the announcement by UnitedHealth Group to pull out of the exchanges in 2017 and the revelation that premiums are expected to rise 11 percent next year.
However, he insisted that this isn't the beginning of a "death spiral" for the president's signature legislation, noting that "we're talking about a brand-new system in which everyone is still learning how to function." The problems cropping up were, if not specifically expected, generally so -- no system this complex could be expected to be established without any problems.
Krugman's concern is that the GOP -- the party which has been predicting disaster at every attempt to implement Obamacare -- will use these setbacks to call for the dismantling of the whole system:
To the right’s dismay, scare tactics — remember death panels? — and spurious legal challenges failed to protect the nation from the scourge of guaranteed health coverage. Still, Obamacare’s opponents insisted that it would implode in a “death spiral” of low enrollment and rising costs.
But the law’s first two years of full implementation went remarkably well. The number of uninsured Americans dropped sharply, roughly in line with projections, while costs came in well below expectations. Opponents of reform could have reconsidered their position — but that hardly ever happens in modern politics. Instead, they doubled down on their forecasts of doom, and hyped every hint of bad news...