Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) argued last week that the Affordable Care Act was "designed to fail," as part of an elaborate Democratic ruse., As Graham sees it, those Democrats knew all along that "Obamacare" would collapse, at which point those rascally Dems would open the door to a single-payer system.
This is obviously ridiculous for all sorts of reasons, but let's focus for now on the most pressing truth: the Affordable Care Act is actually doing pretty well. Vox's Ezra Klein explained this morning that the ACA, despite facing real challenges, is both popular and effective, "and that makes it damn hard to replace."
[In the Republicans' telling, the ACA] is always “imploding,” “failing,” “dying,” “disastrous.” How can a law in such crisis command such healthy public support? The answer is that the law is, for the most part, not in crisis. There are areas of the country where the exchanges have struggled to attract insurers, and there are markets in which premiums have increased rapidly. These problems are real and, if the party in power were interested in improving the law, solvable.
But even without improvements, the reality is that for most people, in most places, the Affordable Care Act is working.
This isn't just true in the broad sense -- the ACA has, for example, pushed the uninsured rate to record lows -- it's also true when we consider the latest details.
NBC News reported last week, for example, that private insurers participating in ACA exchange marketplaces are seeing increased profits, "a sign that the market is stabilizing and that Republican claims of collapse have not come to pass."
The same report added, "The analysis by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation examined first-quarter earnings in 2017 and found insurance companies are paying a lower share of premiums out in medical claims than in any comparable period since the law went into effect. The current mix of enrollees do not appear to be less healthy than in the past, an important factor in whether companies can turn a profit."