The insurance industry is preparing a massive Obamacare ad campaign. Benen remarks upon it:
If the industry expected the Affordable Care Act to collapse – or at a minimum, struggle badly for the foreseeable future – insurers would wait on the sidelines. If the industry expected “Obamacare” to succeed, they’d quickly get in the game, competing for consumers’ business before their rivals could snatch up prospective customers. Now that insurers are poised to spend a half-billion dollars in advertising, it appears the industry is confident the system will prevail. To hear Republicans tell it, “Obamacare” is in some kind of death spiral, from which there is no recovery. In reality, the ACA reached its nadir a month ago, and is bouncing back quite nicely.
Krugman is on the same page:
Now, some people will see this as bad news. Obamacare is just going to add to insurer profits! And it will indeed make money for the likes of Aetna and Wellpoint. In an ideal world, this wouldn’t be happening: single payer would clearly have been a better system. But it wasn’t going to happen. This was the health reform we could get — and when it works, as the big money now believes it will, it’s going to make a huge, positive difference to millions of lives.
The fact that the insurers are launching their campaigns is … independent confirmation that HealthCare.Gov is rapidly improving. Major insurers are virtually the only group aside from the federal government that has real visibility into the functioning of Obamacare’s digital architecture. They know what the pace of enrollment looks like, and how many 834s are being correctly generated, and whether angry customers are calling their help lines. They know there are still problems even if the Obama administration is downplaying them. But if they think the system is sound enough to begin driving people to it that’s good evidence that the improvements are real.
Sargent chimes in:
What’s striking is that this comes even as the absolute certainty among Republicans that the law cannot do anything other than fail spectacularly — indeed, that this has already happened — has only hardened. The New York Times reports that a whole batch of Republicans who were unseated in 2012 are running again for Congress explicitly because they believe Obamacare’s failure has given them an opening — and that they have replaced their previous focus on other issues with a single minded focus on the law.