“Conservatives are operating on the assumption that [Obamacare is] an irredeemable disaster that they can ride all the way to 2016,” New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote on his blog last week, “but the facts on the ground are getting better by the day.”
He went on: “Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.”
The evidence behind Krugman’s optimism is not terribly convincing – he bases it on the Obama administration’s sunny tone (really) and media coverage of the law that he thinks is improving. He could still eventually be proven right, but a miracle will be needed, and it’s not quite clear where that miracle can come from.
Exchange enrollment has been well below projections, even in states not affected by healthcare.gov glitches. That suggests not only technical problems but also a lack of demand. By a wide margin, the stories of sticker shock and lost health plans seem to outnumber the happy endings, and there’s no reason so far to think that 2015 premiums, when they are announced in the spring, won’t be even higher than the 2014 premiums. That’s why, as good a face as the White House puts on it, Democratic insiders are already panicking over losing the Senate.