Cohn lists five rules for talking about Obamacare. Number four:
The Affordable Care Act’s critics say premiums for people buying coverage on their own will actually increase. That’s true. The law’s defenders say tax credits offset the cost for many and probably most of those people. That’s also true. The law’s critics say some people will lose coverage from employers and won’t be happy about it. That’s true. The law’s defenders say most of those people will be better off, because they’ll be low-wage earners getting subsidies on the exchanges or they’ll be older workers who had stayed working because, previously, it was their only way to get benefits. That’s also true.
You may notice a theme here.
Obamacare sets in motion all kinds of changes. They will typically affect different people in different ways—creating winners, losers, and all sorts of people in between. Are there more winners than losers? How much worse off are the losers? Those are the kinds of questions we need to answer if we want to make a judgment about the law. And the answers are rarely simple.
Jonathan Gruber recommends withholding judgement:
Although many have made bold claims about how this law will impact coverage by private and public insurance, we simply won’t know until we see the data from our major household surveys of insurance coverage, available in the fall of 2014. Ultimately, the projections of the Congressional Budget Office suggest that the ACA will not be fully implemented for three years, the amount of time it took to ramp up to full implementation in Massachusetts. So we won’t be able to draw final and firm conclusions until late in 2016.