60 Minutes turned its attention to Obamacare in a story reported by Lesley Stahl and produced by Rich Bonin this past Sunday. The segment promoted Steven Brill’s new book on Obamacare. According to Stahl and Brill, Obamacare’s great failure is its lack of price controls. Assuming price controls to be a great good — one of those great goods without a downside — the segment allocated no blame to Obama. It wasn’t his fault; no one could overcome the entrenched interests that were protected under the law.
At least they didn’t present Cuba’s “free” health care as the optimal system, but that’s the idea.
Stahl prefaced her report with a bit of what seemed to me Castro-worthy propaganda:
This month marks one year since health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act began, and from the president’s point of view: so far, so good. More than 10 million Americans who didn’t have health insurance before have signed up.
I’m not sure where Stahl plucked that number from; she didn’t say. She just asserted it as the gospel truth. And she omitted to mention that five or six million lost health insurance with which they were perfectly happy.
I think Stahl took the 10 million number from a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine and prepared by researchers affiliated with Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Harvard School of Public Health. The article may have a methodological issue or two that calls the results into question. How many of the 10 million were previously uninsured? I don’t think the report tells us.
The official administration line is posted here. The authors of the official administration line have trouble with subject-verb agreement. Beyond the troubled grammar, however, you have to wonder if there isn’t some subversive humor at play in the bowels of the Obama propaganda mill: “The real numbers when taking all data into account truly seems [sic] to be closer to our 15 million estimate which as you can read below is actually pretty conservative.” I can hear Larry David’s reading: pret-ty, pret-ty conservative.
The Heritage Foundation takes a look here. The foundation’s experts opine: “When it comes to covering the uninsured, Obamacare so far is mainly a simple expansion of Medicaid.”
At Forbes, Avik Roy McKinsey cites a McKinsey survey suggesting that “74 percent of Obamacare signups were previously insured.”
The answer to the question implicit in the 10 million number requires investigation by itself, but CBS News probably should not be the outfit to perform it.
STEVE adds: I’ve predicted from the very beginning that we would see a push for price controls when Obamacare started raising health care costs, as was always inevitable.