Obamacare’s Problems Are Only Just Beginning

The catastrophic failure of Obamacare’s launch is now far in the past. But the public’s acquiescence to a law that keeps creating new problems should not be taken as a sign of enthusiastic acceptance, much less as a sign that Obamacare is working.

The important thing is how each of Obamacare’s current problems — skyrocketing premiums, lower than expected enrollment, and the collapse of several cooperative plans — is related to the others.

Obamacare plans debuted with more expensive premiums than before, but not as expensive as some had expected. This allowed the law’s supporters to assuage public panic over the debacle of 2013 and 2014. Why were prices still relatively low? It’s partly because insurers found other ways to pass costs to consumers — by raising deductibles (the amount customers must pay before the coverage kicks in) and narrowing their supported provider networks. That won’t change, and it is an ongoing source of discontent.