Thursday, August 20, 2009

The American Choice: Swiss or Dutch-Style Managed Competition or Australian Two-Tier. So Why All the Right-Wing Blather about Canada?

The winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics, Paul Krugman, has again hit the nail on the head in his NY Times op-ed column, "The Swiss Menace". Krugman points out that (1) most of the talk about the UK and Canada is misleading; and (2) it's also besides the point, because really all that Obama is trying to do extend basic public sector care a la Australia and/or mandate more private insurance a la Switzerland or the Netherlands. So why all the talk about Canada? Because right-wing propagandists are aware of how ignorant most of their fellow citizens are about Canada, and are selfish and unethical enough to take advantrage of that fact.

As Krugman nicely (and bluntly) puts it,

"So where does Obamacare fit into all this? Basically, it’s a plan to Swissify America, using regulation and subsidies to ensure universal coverage. "

"If we were starting from scratch we probably wouldn’t have chosen this route. True “socialized medicine” would undoubtedly cost less, and a straightforward extension of Medicare-type coverage to all Americans would probably be cheaper than a Swiss-style system. That’s why I and others believe that a true public option competing with private insurers is extremely important: otherwise, rising costs could all too easily undermine the whole effort.
But a Swiss-style system of universal coverage would be a vast improvement on what we have now. And we already know that such systems work. "

"So we can do this. At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies."

Sunday, August 02, 2009

The only reason private health insurance works---SOMETIMES

2008 Nobel Laureate in Economics Paul Krugman sums up the U.S. debate over health care very nicely in his current New York Time column, "Health Care Realities":

"Right-wing opponents of reform would have you believe that President Obama is a wild-eyed socialist, attacking the free market. But unregulated markets don’t work for health care — never have, never will. To the extent we have a working health care system at all right now it’s only because the government covers the elderly, while a combination of regulation and tax subsidies makes it possible for many, but not all, nonelderly Americans to get decent private coverage.

Now Mr. Obama basically proposes using additional regulation and subsidies to make decent insurance available to all of us. That’s not radical; it’s as American as, well, Medicare."