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Friday, February 5, 2016

Paul Krugman, "Who Hates Obamacare?": Krugman Trashes Bernie Sanders

In a New York Times op-ed entitled "Who Hates Obamacare?," Paul Krugman again makes the case for Obamacare, while taking a swipe at Bernie Sanders. Krugman writes (my emphasis in red):

"[H]ealth costs have risen much more slowly than before.

. . . .

The number of uninsured Americans has dropped sharply, especially in states that have tried to make the law work. But millions are still uncovered, and in some cases high deductibles make coverage less useful than it should be."

Health care costs have risen much more slowly? Krugman provides a link to a September 2015 White House press release subtitled "Summary: New data show that slow growth in health care costs is continuing in 2015." Needless to say, Krugman is careful not to observe, as reported in December 2015, that Obamacare premiums will rise by an average of some 13 percent in 2016. Nice try, Paul.

Obamacare coverage is "less useful" than it should be? Oh really? How about "useless," owing to deductibles, as reported by The New York Times?

Re Sanders, Krugman goes on to say:

"And speaking of demonization: One unpleasant, ugly side of this debate has been the tendency of some Sanders supporters, and sometimes the campaign itself, to suggest that anyone raising questions about the senator’s proposals must be a corrupt tool of vested interests.

. . . .

The truth is that whomever the Democrats nominate, the general election is mainly going to be a referendum on whether we preserve the real if incomplete progress we’ve made on health, financial reform and the environment. The last thing progressives should be doing is trash-talking that progress and impugning the motives of people who are fundamentally on their side."

But let's leave progressive politics, "hate" and "trash-talking" out of the picture for a moment. Instead, consider Robert Samuelson's January 31, 2016 Washington Post opinion piece entitled "The dangerous deficits our candidates aren’t talking about," in which we are told:

"Last week, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued its annual 'Budget and Economic Outlook' report — a detailed examination of White House and congressional policies — and hardly anyone paid heed. The inattention is striking because the report was full of sobering news.


●Cumulative deficits over 10 years (2016 to 2025) are now projected at $8.5 trillion, up from a $7 trillion estimate in August. Federal debt held by the public — the total of all past deficits — is projected at $22.4 trillion in 2025; in 2016, it’s $13.9 trillion. By 2025, the debt would equal 84 percent of the economy (gross domestic product) compared with 74 percent in 2015. Many economists think the rising debt unsustainable.

●Almost half the spending growth over the decade comes from two programs: Social Security and Medicare. Much of the rest stems from other health-care programs (Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act) and from interest on the debt."

Samuelson's conclusion:

"The leading [presidential] candidates are playing Russian roulette with the nation’s future, assuming that deficits can be ignored because most Americans (or so it seems) would prefer it that way."

Allow me to summarize the foregoing in simple English: America is sinking into an ocean of red ink from which it will never emerge, and Obamacare is one of the chief culprits. As for me, I couldn't give a damn if Hillary or Bernie is more "progressive."

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