And yet, in another way, the conservative media has provided a useful lagging indicator of Obamacare’s progress. The message of every individual story is that the law is failing, the administration is lying, and so on. The substance, when viewed as a whole, tells a different story. Here is how Suderman, to take just one example, has described the continuous advancement of the law’s coverage goals:
January 21: The prognosis was so grim that Obamacare might not have yielded any net reduction in the uninsured (“it appears possible that there has been no net expansion of private coverage at all”).
This is the ridiculous position Suderman took six months ago. This is where he is now:
July 8: A New England Journal of Medicine report that 20 million Americans have gained insurance under Obamacare, argues Suderman, is probably too high (“it’s too early to say exactly how many so far — only that 20 million is almost certainly an overstatement”).
Chait finishes him off deftly:
We have gone from learning that the law has failed to cover anybody to learning it would cover a couple million to learning it would cover a few million to learning that it has probably insured fewer than 20 million people halfway through year one. The message of every individual dispatch is a confident prediction of the hated enemy's demise, yet the terms described in each, taken together, tell the story of retreat.
And yes, the "Obamacare will collapse/death spiral/massive premium spikes/groundswell for repeal!" people are wrong, because those clowns are always wrong about everything important. And yet, people will still take Peter Suderman and Forbes's Avik Roy and US News's Jim Pethokoukis seriously, even though every ridiculous thing they said about Obamacare turned out to be so amazingly wrong, they should all be fired.
At least they can get affordable health care when that happens.