Of course in 1999 Krugman assured the world that Enron was working just fine too. But that’s an argumentum ad hominem. Let’s turn to the substance of California’s “success.”
Barack Obama sold ObamaCare with lies and damned lies. Now Krugman purports to back them up with statistics. The bit about the young California applicants appeared earlier in a Times news story: “Officials said 18- to 34-year-olds made up 22.5 percent of the nearly 31,000 Californians who selected a private health plan in October. The same age group makes up 21 percent of the state’s population.”
The implication is that the problem of “adverse selection” has not materialized: Young, healthy people are in fact signing up and paying inflated premiums that will subsidize artificially low premiums for the older and sicker.
But such a claim is bunk. While Covered California does report that “18-34 year olds are applying in very similar proportion to the population,” it also acknowledges that the “oldest age brackets, 45-64, are overrepresented compared to the population.” That’s because two groups are enormously underrepresented: adults over 65, almost all of whom are covered by Medicare, and children under 18, who already had a high eligibility threshold (family income at 250% of the poverty line) for Medi-Cal, the Golden State’s version of Medicaid.