Liberals have cited California as the prototypical Obamacare success story for years now, but a new study puts that assertion very much in doubt. Five years ago, even before Obamacare’s exchanges went live, The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed California would prove that “a program designed to help a lot of people can, strange to say, end up helping a lot of people — especially when government officials actually try to make it work.”
Reporters have chimed in with similar stories about Obamacare’s supposed success in California. During the presidential campaign in 2016, the Los Angeles Timesreported that “California is emerging as a clear illustration of what the law can achieve.” The article quoted several insurers saying the state “did it right,” and had created stable insurance markets.
Whether explicit or implicit, these and articles like them have presented a consistent theme: Absent Republican “sabotage” — less present in a Democratic-dominated state like California — Obamacare would have delivered on its promises much more effectively. These make a study published last week casting doubt on whether California has delivered on one of its central promises of particular note.