Who Hates Obamacare: A Rejoinder

The following piece, authored by CPEG’s Bruce Parry, is a response to Paul Krugman’s February 5th New York Times Op-Ed entitled “Who Hates Obamacare”

In his February 5th Op-Ed piece, Paul Krugman vilifies the Sanders supporters for their position on health care in the United States and their evaluation of Obamacare in particular. He starts out with an anecdote about Ted Cruz, but for the rest of the article ignores the subject of how much the Republicans hate Obamacare. Yet it is the right — driven by the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies and other business interests that seem to elude Krugman — that really hates Obamacare. Instead he focuses his vitriol on the left.

His arguments are specious. He approvingly cites a source that argues that the costs of a single-payer health care system “would cost substantially more than the campaign says.” But Krugman knows very well — or should know — that every study of single payer systems shows that they are less expensive overall than the private insurance system we have now. What may be a cost in increased taxes is more than offset by the reduction families of normal people will have to pay for private health care. There will be no special tax on people for not having health care as there is effective this year because everyone will have health care. I will approvingly cite Phillip Longman, a former writer for Fortune magazine who was assigned to find the best business model for health care and write an article about it. He discovered that the VA Health Care System — a single payer system — was the best model and it wasn’t a “business model.” The title of his book, The Best Health Care Anywhere, sums up his argument.

Krugman also argues that the reader should not expose the roots of the person that is writing on the subject. Specifically, the Sanders campaign’s policy director pointed out that the source Krugman quotes “worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield.” Well, I think that readers should know exactly where sources interests lie. Krugman is a leading columnist for the New York Times, which many believe is going all out for Hillary Clinton. Krugman’s attack is a cheap shot at the Sanders campaign precisely at a time when the Clinton campaign is having trouble. Let’s lay all the cards on the table.

I am obviously a supporter of Sanders, but more than that, I have been a supporter of single payer health care for years. In this, I stand with 74 percent of the health care professionals who support single payer heath care. We are the only major industrialized country without a public health care system. And I would remind readers that it was under Obama’s watch that the “public option” was taken off the table during the health care debate. That is one of the major reasons that many of the actual left in this country opposed the passage of Obamacare. That does not ignore the fact that millions are covered today who were not covered before. It also does not ignore the fact that the Sanders plan would cover the millions who are still not covered.

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