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Monday, January 18, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Health Reform Realities": Obamacare is a "Kludge"



Do you recall Paul Krugman's December 5, 2013 New York Times op-ed entitled "Obama Gets Real," in which he declared:

"HealthCare.gov is working much better, people are signing up in growing numbers, and the whole mess is already receding in the rear-view mirror."

Well, in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Health Reform Realities," Krugman acknowledges that Obamacare is less than perfect:

"Health reform is the signature achievement of the Obama presidency. It was the biggest expansion of the social safety net since Medicare was established in the 1960s. It more or less achieves a goal — access to health insurance for all Americans — that progressives have been trying to reach for three generations. And it is already producing dramatic results, with the percentage of uninsured Americans falling to record lows.

Obamacare is, however, what engineers would call a kludge: a somewhat awkward, clumsy device with lots of moving parts. This makes it more expensive than it should be, and will probably always cause a significant number of people to fall through the cracks."

Recommending against a drastic overhaul of Obamacare, Krugman concludes:

"So progressives must set some priorities. And it’s really hard to see, given this picture, why it makes any sense to spend political capital on a quixotic attempt at a do-over, not of a political failure, but of health reform — their biggest victory in many years."

Got it: Progressives' "biggest victory in many years" is a "kludge." Congratulations to one and all.

But more to the point, how does one gloat that "the percentage of uninsured Americans [is] falling to record lows" without also acknowledging that Obamacare's high deductibles make it unaffordable for many Americans to go to a doctor, and that Obamacare premiums will rise by an average of some 13 percent in 2016?

How about just a little objectivity, Paul?

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