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  • Paul Krugman's Health Care Fantasies

    Paul Krugman just can’t stop spreading misinformation about Medicare and health insurance. Today he writes:

    In the individual insurance market, where people buy insurance directly rather than getting it through their employers, so much money goes into underwriting and other expenses that only around 70 cents of each premium dollar actually goes to care.

    This is just plain deceptive. The latest government figures available, from 2007 (see Table 12), show that 87.8 cents of every private health insurance premium dollar went to personal health care bills. And that remaining 12.2 cents? In addition to underwriting, administration, advertising, and (gasp!) profit, that 12.2 figure also includes some patient care that insurance companies provided themselves, like disease management and on-call toll-free nurse consultations. Krugman continues:

    Today, Medicare — which is, by the way, one of those “single payer” systems conservatives love to demonize — covers everyone 65 and older. And surveys show that Medicare recipients are much more satisfied with their coverage than Americans with private insurance. Still, most Americans under 65 do have some form of private insurance.

    But what Krugman fails to tell readers, or perhaps doesn’t even know, is that many Americans OVER 65 also have some form of private insurance. In other words, Medicare is not quite the “single-payer” paragon that Krugman holds it out to be. The latest government figures available, from 2005 (see Chart 6-3), show that Medicare pays only 51% of Medicare beneficiaries’ health care costs. The rest is made up by the beneficiaries themselves and … those evil health insurance companies.

    Krugman is in touch with one key reality: the federal government does play a huge role in our current health care system, controlling more of the spending in the health sector than in any other area of our economy. And that role has been accelerating rapidly. If our health care system is in such bad shape now with so much government control, then why on Earth does Krugman believe even more government control is the answer?

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    25 Responses to Paul Krugman's Health Care Fantasies

    1. zack says:

      So then tell me you favor dismantling Medicare and Medicaid

    2. M. Eichenlaub says:

      Is this just a different opinion by Krugman or flat out false?

    3. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Krugman's horizontal vision fails to see the negative sign in front of the proposed government figures.

    4. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      Government figures = Government's dollar amount remaining for actual care. Don't worry, just raise more taxes to cover the deficit.

    5. Thomas, Anchorage, A says:

      Charts 6-1 and 6-2 show that as beneficiaries age, less supplemental care is covered by Medicare and more is privately sourced or obtained through an employer.

      Guess Krugman missed that…

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    7. tdcarolan says:

      Medicare is on the verge of bankruptcy!!

    8. Roger, OR says:

      Why on earth do you greyscale highlight your hyperlinks instead of underlining them or using a slightly different color? This article looks terrible, and is also quite annoying.

      And what's up with 'commenting is a privilege not a right?' Am I reading the Chinese version of your site? Sure looked like the Liberty Bell on the top of the page. I think it gives a little insight as to why you feel health care is a privilege. That is very un-Pro-Life.

    9. matthew, queens, ny says:

      P. Krugman is an avowed Keyesean. Naturally he will never let the facts get in the way for his call for a government take over of any private program. The sky’s the limit to any government spending program unless it is for the military.

    10. JCC, Houston says:

      Krugman's points are correct. You are the one who is practicing self-deception.

    11. Brittancus, Indianap says:

      For months now since Health care reform suddenly become the main issue on the national agenda. We have been bombarded with the incessant accusation that the English/British form of the single-payer system is about unequivocal–RATIONING? YES! This is the truth now, but it wasn't always that way. It wasn't until the Globalist plan to take over the originally named Common Market, that health care in England started to suffer. In Jan. 1, 1973, original known to Brits as the Common Market. The “One Market” that was created in 1993 states that people, money, services, and trade can move freely within the European Union. Currently over 450 million EU citizens are provided with these special options.

      The indigenous British people's lives had already been disrupted by the importation of cheap labor from Commonwealth countries to drive the buses and run British Railway. Then family unification started and illegal immigration and the beginning of spiraling crime. RATIONING AND REDUCED HEALTH CARE CAME TO ENGLAND WITH AN OVERLOAD OF LEGAL AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, SUDDENLY THE UNITED KINGDOM FOUND THEMSELVES IN A TERRIBLE QUANDARY OF HUNDREDS OF THOUSAND OF REFUGEES AND ASYLUM SEEKERS. ALL PAID FOR BY THE BRITISH/ENGLISH TAXPAYER.

      In spite of the restrictive immigration policies which have been in place since the 1970s in most Member States Of The European Union, large numbers of legal and illegal migrants have continued to come to the EU together with asylum-seekers and illegal labor. Taking advantage of individuals seeking an improved life, smuggling and skin trafficking networks have taken hold across the EU. The inception of these relative dates in when one of the greatest Universal Health care system, came to a grinding halt of quality.

      The system was simple? You paid your insurance stamps and the employer paid his? End of story. The years I worked in the Mother country, I received three minor surgeries, teeth and dentistry, and eye care. WITH NO PREMIUMS, NO-PAYS, NO DEDUCTIONS AND CERTAINLY NO PRE EXISTING CONDITIONS? ONCE I SPENT THREE MONTHS IN EAST GRINSTEAD HOSPITAL WITH A BACK PROBLEM. MY COST–NOTHING! WE CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT SUPPORT THE MILLIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIENS AND FAMILIES WITH TRILLION DOLLAR HEALTH CARE. IT WILL LEAD TO RATIONING ON A GRAND SCALE! AS ALWAYS THE TAXPAYER WILL FOOT THE BILL FOR BUSINESS WELFARE.

      CALL YOUR POLITICIAN IN WASHINGTON 202-224-3121 I Want a health care system–even government run. BUT IT"S SURE TO FAIL, IF TAXES ARE BEING EXTORTED TO PAY FOR FREE HEALTH CARE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS? Support for the bi-partisan E-VERIFY PART OF THE SAVE Act, which will expand E-Verify and protect American Workers! We must focus on the behemoth problem in terminating illegal immigrants-and the jobs that attract illegal aliens. WE WILL ALWAYS BE PAYING FOR ILLEGAL ALIENS, UNLESS WE DO SOMETHING NOW? Many GOP members are against a Path to citizenship for lawbreakers, so we mostly need the phones ringing in the ears of Democrats, who see the millions of illegal aliens as a positive voting block.

      WE MUST STOP IT NOW OF SUFFER FROM IRREVERSIBLE POPULATION GROWTH.

      DEMAND NO AMNESTY! NO FAMILY UNIFICATION KNOWN AS CHAIN MIGRATION! BUILD THE ORIGINAL FENCE! NO MORE HEALTH CARE OR ANY OTHER KIND OF BENEFITS FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. CLOSE THE BORDER AND STATION THE NATIONAL GUARD. $2.5 TRILLION DOLLARS, JUST IN RETIREMENT BENEFITS? Learn uncorrupted facts at NUMBERSUSA.

      Copy, Paste and Distribute freely

    12. BDean, Texas says:

      Of course, Krugman is correct with his facts. Unfortunately, there are a few facts that are glossed over or evidently impertinent to his conclusions. Let's not get all the facts in the way of our opinions.

    13. John Schaeffer says:

      medicare and even more so medicad make no profit for hospitals or drs. they are subsidized by all the rest of us, and the goverment sets the fees for all procedures just at the overhead costs so only drs costs are covered.

    14. Ron Ft Worth says:

      JCC of Houston, THAT'S your argument ?

      A simple assertion with no facts or logic to back it up ?

      Well, at least you didn't stoop to an ad hominem attack, the way so many liberals do.

      Congratulations on THAT !

    15. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      What the previous writer didn't say, Taxes in the UK are very high, also in Canada, second Medicare is being given to those who DIDNOT WORK, those of us who are getting Social security pay for part B and D, I also pay a monthly premium for Medi-gap. I tried HMO and found I was a member of a cattle call medication, rationed by so many minutes with a PA and IF I saw a MD this was for about 5 min. I had broken my back and never got treatment, went back to Private pay and got treated by a nuero an ortho as well as my GP, no referral needed. I am in charge of my health and body and currently see my MD every 3 mos and very happy. Obama care NO WAY!

    16. C. Adli,NV says:

      I am over 65 have medicare and sublementery health insurance.Some good surgens and internists do not accept medicare because it does not pay enough.I don,t how Mr.Krugmann got the"Nobel price".I guess the things are not same as they were before.

    17. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Medicare parts A&B cover about 50% of all Health claims of Medicare beneficiaries. Anyone on Medicare knows this. Most all who are on Medicare have purchased Medigap, or Medicare Supplements, to cover the balance of charges that Medicare doesn't cover. And who provides these Medigap and Medicare Supplements? Why the evil, "greedy insurance companies", of course.

      Every year since Medicare parts A & B were made available (1966) to those age 65 and over, Medicare has increased the deductibles and reduced the amount of medical charges it would cover under parts A & B. As a result, the Medigap policies and Medicare Supplement plans picked up more and more of the charges that Medicare no longer covered, which caused the price of these policies and plans to go up.

      Mr. Krugman says that most covered by Medicare are satisfied with their coverage. That may be true if the people he is talking about also carry Medicare Supplement coverage. Let him interview those with Medicare A & B only, with no Medigap or Medicare Supplement coverage, and see how satisfied with Medicare these people are.

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    21. Peg Fisk Port Cheste says:

      I suppose that what bothers me most about Obamacare is that it is so deliberately confusing. No one seems to be sure what is in the plan, and, of course, no one knows how it will be paid for.

      Not being a politician myself (and for this I am grateful), I am amazed at how many in Congress are touting this "plan" as the magic bullet to out health care "crisis," I worked thirty years as a teacher, have supplementary insurance, and I am not complaining one bit.

      Rushing through a "plan" that cannot even be explained by the people who wrote it seems–if I may use the phrase–"acting stupidly."

    22. Steve Nguyen, Oaklan says:

      To answer your last question … Just because the current system with some government control is already in bad shape doesn't automatically mean that additional government control would make it worse. That's a silly claim. Obama is trying to optimize the system. Nonetheless, healthcare is so enormously complex that 99% of the population can't really have an intelligent opinion on the right direction. The best policiticans can do, as is the case with most issues, is spin and promote their cause through the media the best they can to win over the public. And with whatever reform wins out, we all just have to hope for the best!

    23. matt,FL says:

      the last post doesn't make any sense. So just sit back and let the politicians make whatever decision they're gonna make and just hope for the best? that is b.s. we have plenty of similar health care setups to reference around the world as well as plenty of Gov't. run organizations whose performance we can reference when making our decision about the current proposals. Almost any Gov't run organization will do worse than a private sector organization of the same kind. that to me means that YES, additional Gov't control WILL mean a decrease in the quality and efficiency of our healthcare organizations. And Obama NOT trying to optimize our current system, he is trying to completely redesign it in a fashion that will move the Fed. Gov't. one step closer to complete control of our health care while pushing out the competetive process and private companies. To us the customer we'll be left with less choice and sub-par services as a direct result of the fed run health care organisation not running on the same rules as the private providers.In the end they will be forced out of business. Sounds like a federal monopoly to me, sounds very socialist to me, it's just plain un-American.

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