David Brooks: Obamacare headed toward a ‘death spiral’

Jeff Poor | Media Reporter

On Friday’s “NewsHour” on PBS, New York Times columnist David Brooks warned that Obamacare is headed for much larger problems, beyond the current obvious problems of the dysfunction of its website.

In his weekly appearance on the PBS program with syndicated columnist Mark Shields, Brooks called the website the easy part of the 2009 health care reform law. And he said Americans should be concerned about are the larger structural problems of the program.

“I think it’s a hole that is getting deeper,” Brooks said. “I mean, the website was the easy thing to do. And they messed that up. The people who are losing — are getting their insurance cancellation that was a necessity of the law. It’s sort of offensive because they think they have a good insurance plan. The government regulators are saying, ‘Sorry, not good enough.’ Some of them are going to suffer. Some will benefit. But these are the foothills to what will be a whole set of bigger problems.”

“Because of the problems with the enrollment right now, that increases the likelihood we will have the death spiral, where only sick people sign up, the healthy don’t sign up, and that — you just can’t run a system like that,” he continued. “Then there are further problems, complexities down the road of the — how the subsidy mechanism works. That’s a very complicated mechanism. Basically, you’re reorganizing [17] percent of the U.S. economy, and you’re handing a lot of … people who can’t run a website, and so there’s bound to be unintended consequences.”

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