Writing at Fiscal Times, John Wasik produces what to my eye is a pretty fair set of benchmarks for determining whether the PPACA has succeeded or failed:
To date, about half a million Americans have applied for insurance through the online marketplaces, although the government isn’t saying how many have been able to get through the ongoing technical problems to actually buy a plan. Yesterday, President Obama said he would concentrate on fixing the snafus.“The website has been too slow, people have been getting stuck during the application process,” Obama said on Monday. “And I think it’s fair to say that nobody is more frustrated by that than I am – precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work. I want the checkout lines to be smooth. So I want people to be able to get this great product. And there’s no excuse for the problems, and these problems are getting fixed.”Let’s take the president at his word and assume the website problems get sorted out, and fairly soon. How will Americans know if Obamacare is a success or failure? Here are four benchmarks
Here are his benchmarks:
- Will the Government Exchanges Be Competitive with Private-Sector Prices?
- Will Customer Service Be Adequate?
- Will Out of Pocket Costs Be Reasonable?
- Will Those Who Need It Most Get Covered?
Read the article for analysis and his preliminary assessments. I’d suggest an even more basic standard: by March 31, 2014 will more people have healthcare insurance than did on February 1, 2009?
None of these, of course, satisfy the benchmark I’d like to see addressed: is real per capita healthcare spending lower than it was on February 1, 2009? If real per capita healthcare spending continues to increase faster than income, it will sink the budgets of many state and local governments not to mention private companies and individuals.