Paul Krugman Vs Sarah Palin On Health Care

Oh, my, with Congress back in session doing things to restrict and mess up our lives (unless you are basically a ward of Los Federales. Then you get free big screen TVs), it is getting hot and heavy in the opinion pages. Let’s start with Krugman

But what is one to make of the practical, political argument from the likes of Ezra Klein, who argue that any public plan actually included in legislation probably wouldn’t make that much difference, and that reform is worth having even without such a plan?

There are three reasons to be suspicious of that argument.

The first is that I suspect that Ezra and others understate the extent to which even a public plan with limited bargaining power will help hold down overall costs. Private insurers do pay providers more than Medicare does – but that’s only part of the reason Medicare has lower costs. There’s also the huge overhead of the private insurers, much of which involves marketing and attempts to cherry-pick clients – and even with community rating, some of that will still go on. A public plan would probably be able to attract clients with much less of that.

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Second, a public plan would probably provide the only real competition in many markets.

Third – and this is where I am getting a very bad feeling about the idea of throwing in the towel on the public option – is the politics. Remember, to make reform work we have to have an individual mandate. And everything I see says that there will be a major backlash against the idea of forcing people to buy insurance from the existing companies. That backlash was part of what got Obama the nomination! Having the public option offers a defense against that backlash.

Got that? Paul provides no proof, just typical sophistry and “we know what is best for you, so just sit down, shut up, and let your betters do what they want.”: His third: reason confirms that people will be forced to purchase health insurance, whether they want to or not. So much for the freedom loving Democrats.

But, let’s take a look at #1. Why do private insurers charge more than Medicare and Medicaid? Because government mandates those lower costs. Which is one of the reasons more and more doctors and medical institutions are opting out of those programs.

The huge overhead and such? Mostly because of government regulations.

Notice his last sentence of that first reason paragraph “A public plan would probably be able to attract clients with much less of that” along with his second point.: First, isn’t the public option simply: a way to cover those 47 million uninsured? Here we have Krugman talking about it being able to compete for everyone. This is one of the reasons the Democrats have a big fail tag, because they flip flop in what they say. Of course, what they really mean, and which I would bet people get, is that the public option pushers are looking to create single payer.

On to Sarah Palin, who has a wonderful op-ed in the Wall Street Journal

Let’s talk about specifics. In his Times op-ed, the president argues that the Democrats’ proposals “will finally bring skyrocketing health-care costs under control” by “cutting . . . waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid and in unwarranted subsidies to insurance companies . . . .”

First, ask yourself whether the government that brought us such “waste and inefficiency” and “unwarranted subsidies” in the first place can be believed when it says that this time it will get things right. The nonpartistan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) doesn’t think so: Its director, Douglas Elmendorf, told the Senate Budget Committee in July that “in the legislation that has been reported we do not see the sort of fundamental changes that would be necessary to reduce the trajectory of federal health spending by a significant amount.”

Does the guy who has a .200 batting average and can’t hit a curve-ball or slider get a new contract, or, does he get cut? So, why are we going to believe that government, batting .200 in AA ball, can suddenly hit that curve-ball?

Finally, President Obama argues in his op-ed that Democrats’ proposals “will provide every American with some basic consumer protections that will finally hold insurance companies accountable.” Of course consumer protection sounds like a good idea. And it’s true that insurance companies can be unaccountable and unresponsive institutions–much like the federal government. That similarity makes this shift in focus seem like nothing more than an attempt to deflect attention away from the details of the Democrats’ proposals–proposals that will increase our deficit, decrease our paychecks, and increase the power of unaccountable government technocrats.

No one is saying that insurance companies are perfect and great. But, if you do not like yours, you can find another. Government incompetence seems eternal.

Woops! I see Krisia Cavere has also mentioned the Sarah Palin op-ed, as well. Make sure to read it.

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