Our friend Hugh Hewitt appeared on the Meet the Press panel of pundits yesterday. They naturally addressed the failure of the repeal-and-replace Obamacare bill in the House. In the course of the discussion Hugh asserted that Obamacare is in a death spiral. This is a point that conservatives and Republicans have frequently made. President Trump himself made it in his own way on Saturday morning.
ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE. Do not worry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 25, 2017
I have followed Bloomberg View columnist Megan McArdle on this question. She is smart, diligent and well-informed. Bloomberg View compiles McArdle’s columns here.
McArdle has addressed the question, most recently, here (January 18), here (January 25), here (February 8), here (February 15), and here (February 16). That last column offers “another sign that Obamacare exchanges are collapsing.”
McArdle’s columns adduce relevant evidence and assess it from a variety of angles. They strongly suggest that Obamacare has not worked out as its planners asserted it would and that its future is bleak. They tend to support the assessment, stated in common parlance, that Obamacare is in a death spiral.
One-third of United States counties are down to one insurer in the Obamacare exchanges in 2017. PolitiFact itself quibbles with this assertion before rating it True. That is not the sign of a healthy system.
Allison Graves evaluates Hugh’s assertion regarding the Obamacare death spiral for PolitiFact. She defines the question in a manner that tends to belie Hugh’s assertion, cites some relevant authorities and rates Hugh’s assertion False.
I think this is a question on which reasonable minds can disagree, depending on how the question is framed. I would rate Graves’s judgment False in implying the contrary.
Graves states in her column that she “reached out to Hewitt through his radio program but did not hear back.” I’m not sure what that means. Hugh’s radio show runs Monday through Friday. He was pursuing other interest yesterday. I wrote Hugh to ask him how PolitiFact attempted to contact him. Hugh advises:
They say they contacted my booker but she says if they did they didn’t leave a message. Nothing to [Hugh’s producers] Duane Adam or Jake and not one tweet at me. I was on Acela the whole time!
Hugh’s site lists a variety of options to contact the show. Did she “call the show,” use the contact template on his site or email him at email@example.com? I’ve written Graves to ask her how she attempted to contact Hugh. I’ll note her answer in a separate post when I hear from her.
In the meantime, I’m rating the assertion that PolitiFact attempted to contact him False.
UPDATE: More here.