12.18.2009

The myth of Reform, or: How did this man win a Nobel Prize?

Apparently Paul Krugman is all for mediocrity being enshrined in law. By his own admission, the Senate health care bill falls woefully short of his expectations, but it is apparently better than nothing, so we should pass it. He also takes a rather cheap shot at Sen. Lieberman for opposing the bill out of "sheer spite."

Right. Because no one could ever take a principled stand against a new massive government program that could bring us to financial ruin. It has to be because Harry Reid or Chuck Schumer didn't get Joe a Hannakuh gift.

Moving on, though, Krugman shows a complete lack of understanding on even the most basic of economic principles. Again, leaving those of us at LiB to wonder how he received a Nobel Prize in ecomonics at all. Mr. Krugman asserts that the health care bill must be passed because "it would prohibit discrimination by insurance companies on the basis of medical condition or history." Also, "the bill would provide substantial financial aid to those who don't get insurance through their employers, as well as tax breaks for small employers that do provide insurance."

Two things: First, for all the talk of how great the pre-existing condition clauses are, no one is talking about the fact that premiums - the cost of health care in general - will skyrocket. It's basic economics. This requirement will cost more money to the insurance companies and they will pass the cost on to us. Second, of course there are huge amounts of financial aid! With the increase in premiums it will be the only way for many people to afford private insurance in the first place.

But Krugman's logic gets worse. He claims that we will pay for this "with the first serious effort ever to rein in rising health care costs." That's it. He doesn't say how that will happen or the result of reining in costs - which will be rationing of one kind or another. He simply decrees that it will be done.

Krugman also suggests that we need not worry about any imperfections in the bill, because - as history shows - "social insurance programs tend to start out highly imperfect and incomplete, but get better and more comprehensive as the years go by." Really? He cites Social Security as an example - a program that will be bankrupt long before anyone under 35 ever gets near retirement. What about Medicare and Medicaid? Some estimates put those programs in bankruptcy within 10 years. The history of social insurance programs is one of fraud, waste and abuse - not to mention massive bureaucracy and expansion - not one of efficiency and improvement.

The Senate bill is a horrible piece of legislation that puts us on a path toward nationalized health care. It puts us on a path to government intrusion into what should be private decisions about our own health. It will not save money and will cost us more for insurance than ever before.

I don't care how it gets defeated, but it must be stopped.