DeLong on Obamacare
Categorize this in the “I wish Brad had asked these questions in 2009” file.
In a recent post, Brad DeLong sounds like Obamacare critic and health economist John C. Goodman. Here’s an excerpt:
But Massachusetts has been walking down this exchange-and-public-program-expansion road for six years now, since Mitt Romney signed RomneyCare. Massachusetts has been vacuuming up doctors and nurses from Costa Rica and elsewhere and still has been finding that the cost of treating your state population is higher when 97% are insured than it was when 88% were insured. And there aren’t enough loose doctors and nurses in the rest of the world for the ACA to vacuum up enough of them to meet the needs of not 1 state but 50 states.
The investments in medical infrastructure and workforce–less than $30 billion for 32 million newly insured, less than $1000 for newly insured–seem an order of magnitude low.
What is your guess as to what will happen if the ACA works for access, works for quality, works for coverage–but the extra health-care workforce needed isn’t there, and the lines start to get longer?
A number of his commenters provide some interesting, and sometimes good, answers. One commenter, John B, noted that the last line in the quote above doesn’t quite make sense: if coverage increases and the extra health-care workforce isn’t there, how exactly does quality increase.
HT to Tyler Cowen.