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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Paul Krugman, "Rube Goldberg Survives": Time to Celebrate Obamacare?

"Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point.

. . . .

It’s clear what kinds of things the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators want, and it’s really the job of policy intellectuals and politicians to fill in the details."


- Paul Krugman, "Confronting the Malefactors" (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/07/opinion/krugman-confronting-the-malefactors.html), October 2011

Do you remember "Occupy Wall Street"? Do you remember how Krugman suggested that OWS would prove a "turning point" in a populist war against American financial institutions? Krugman's celebration of OWS proved premature to say the least.

Today, in a New York Times op-ed entitled "Rube Goldberg Survives" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/04/opinion/krugman-rube-goldberg-survives.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss), Krugman would have us believe that Obamacare has also reached a "turning point" and that the "7.1 million and counting signups is a huge victory for reform." Krugman concludes:

"So my advice to reform supporters is, go ahead and celebrate. Oh, and feel free to ridicule right-wingers who confidently predicted doom.

Clearly, there’s a lot of work ahead, and we can count on the news media to play up every hitch and glitch as if it were an existential disaster. But Rube Goldberg has survived; health reform has won."

Of course, no mention by Krugman of past Obama administration promises (http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Health_Insurance_Reform_PDF_1.pdf):

"Reform isn’t about putting government in charge of your health insurance; it’s about putting you in charge of your health insurance. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan."

And no mention by Krugman of the percentage of young people among the 7.1 enrollees, who are necessary to keep pricing down.

Also no mention by Krugman of how many enrollees have paid their premiums.

But perhaps most important, Krugman fails to relate to the fact that the underlying rationale of Obamacare was to provide insurance to between 31 million to 47 million people without insurance (see: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/03/06/the-obamacare-disaster-is-now-undeniable/). The purpose was not to cancel the insurance of persons already having plans and force them to enroll in the system.

Celebrate Obamacare? Krugman's exuberance is again premature.

1 comment:

  1. Thank for this intelligent analysis of Dr. Krugman's column. Frankly, I think the good doctor is out of control -- nobody disputes his credentials, BUT he has twisted his knowledge pathetically in an attempt to huckster for his chosen political party, at all costs. That isn't science. It's blatant partisanship, and honestly, it is getting embarrassing.

    Initially I was in favor of health care reform,and supported (with some unease about the individual mandate) the ACA. Later, like many others (and as Nancy Pelsosi alluded), I acted read the damn thing. That's when I realized it was an unworkable kludge, that would be very costly and shift an unfair burden on modestly-off middle class workers.

    In all my opposition, however, I never said I thought nobody would enroll. OF COURSE THEY WOULD, especially those getting huge subsidies. Especially those who had serious illnesses (of all ages) who were either uninsurable OR paying a fortune. In fact, 7-10 million sounded about right to me -- the worst off cases, the working poor, etc.

    The reality is that there are another 40+ million people out there who remain uncovered, and uncounted millions who lost perfectly good health insurance. A health care reform bill that caused people to LOSE coverage? Insane. Yet the NYT cheerleaders scream louder and louder for their Saint Obama.

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