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Paul Krugman’s Inappropriate Victory Lap

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE

Paul Krugman is one of President Obama’s henchmen. Mr. Krugman also won the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Last week he wrote a victory lap article for Obamacare. He continues to write articles without solid facts and a total disregard for basic economics. He works very hard to freeze and then belittle his opponents and the Republican Party.

“When it comes to health reform, Republicans suffer from delusions of disaster. They know, just know, that the Affordable Care Act is doomed to utter failure, so failure is what they see, never mind the facts on the ground.”

He attempted to freeze Mitch McConnell by ridiculing him.

“Thus, on Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, dismissed the push for pay equity as an attempt to “change the subject from the nightmare of Obamacare.”

Mr. Krugman then pours out his non-facts as irrefutable facts by quoting the Rand survey that was just released in full.

“The same day, the nonpartisan RAND Corporation released a study estimating “a net gain of 9.3 million in the number of American adults with health insurance coverage from September 2013 to mid-March 2014.”

The results of the Rand survey were published in the Rand Corps’ blog. The blog itself questions the significance of the 9.3 million numbers of enrollees through the Health Insurance Exchanges as implied in government statements.

Although a total of 3.9 million people enrolled in marketplace plans, only 1.4 million of these individuals were previously uninsured. 

The purpose of Obamacare was to insure the previously uninsured. The Obama administration has not published the actual number of uninsured that have been covered in the initial enrollment period.

The actual number of previously uninsured receiving healthcare insurance from the government’s Health Insurance Exchanges is closer to 895,000 people.

Paul Krugman’s fact that 9.3 million have been insured as a result of Obamacare is not a fact according to the Rand survey.

The headline of the RAND blog was “Survey Estimates Net Gain of 9.3 million American Adults With Health Insurance.”

"Our survey work can't say for certain, which of these shifts are due to the ACA and which are due to other factors, but we can draw some limited conclusions. A more detailed report describing the results summarized below can be found here."

Paul Krugman statement is a direct contradiction of the RAND survey’s statement

The RAND Corp, uses the number of uninsured as 40.7 million people in 2013. This could be a low number.

Many have used an estimate of 48 million were uninsured. It means the RAND number has a large margin of error. Estimates Net Gain of 9.3 Million American 

The RAND Corp., also states that 5.2 million lost healthcare insurance coverage in 2013 as a result of dropped healthcare insurance plans.

 It is estimated by many that 6.6 million lost their healthcare plans because the plans did not comply with Obamacare standards.

Let us use the RAND Corp’s numbers to understand the facts of enrollment through Obamacare. The RAND Corp survey labeled these numbers as estimates.

  • "Of the 40.7 million who were uninsured in 2013, 14.5 million gained coverage, but 5.2 million of the insured lost coverage, for a net gain in coverage of approximately 9.3 million.
  • This represents a drop in the share of the population that is uninsured from 20.5 percent to 15.8 percent.
  • The 9.3 million person increase in insurance is driven not only by enrollment in marketplace plans, but also by gains in employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) and Medicaid.
  • Enrollment in ESI increased by 8.2 million."

 Let us assume the 9.3 million estimate of the total increase in number of people insured is correct.

If 8.2 million people received healthcare insurance from employer sponsored healthcare insurance then only 1.1 million received healthcare care insurance from either private insurance plans or Medicaid on Obamacare’s Health Insurance Exchanges.

There is claimed to be an increase in 3.6 million people receiving Medicaid.  Of that 3.6 million increase in Medicaid enrollment, 1.4 million have signed up through a marketplace.

 The remainder gained Medicare coverage through other sources.

This means a net loss of three hundred thousand Americans having private insurance as a result of Obamacare and the Health Insurance Exchanges (1.1 million- 1.4 million = – 300,000)

Mr. Krugman builds on these non-facts and concludes with an undocumented conclusion. He states as a fact;

Obamacare is looking like anything but a nightmare. Let’s start with the good news about reform, which keeps coming in.

 First, there was the amazing come-from-behind surge in enrollments.”

He then criticizes his opponents in an attempt to make those who disagree with him and the Obama administration appear mean spirited and unwise. 

“Then there were a series of surveys — from Gallup, the Urban Institute, and RAND — all suggesting large gains in coverage.

Taken individually, any one of these indicators might be dismissed as an outlier, but taken together they paint an unmistakable picture of major progress."

 “There are indeed some nightmarish things happening on the health care front. For it turns out that there’s a startling ugliness of spirit abroad in modern America — and health reform has brought that ugliness out into the open.”

Paul Krugman attacks the Koch brothers and Mitch McConnell.

It’s worth noting that, so far, not one of the supposed horror stories touted in Koch-backed anti-reform advertisements has stood up to scrutiny, suggesting that real horror stories are rare.”

It is important to note that Mr. Krugman offers no documentation to his quote. There are many honor stories that are documented.

When he attacks Mitch McConnell he offers facts from Talking

The talking point article contradicts the RAND survey numbers.

So, which is right?

It does not matter to Paul Krugman because the Media is the Message. Paul Krugman has gotten his message across in the New York Times.

“At the state level, however, Republican governors and legislators are still in a position to block the act’s expansion of Medicaid, denying health care to millions of vulnerable Americans.”

The concluding message is Republicans are bad. Democrats are good.

 Paul Krugman said the health economist Jonathan Gruber, one of the principal architects of health reform  recently summed it up:

The Medicaid-rejection states “are willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of injections into their economy in order to punish poor people. It really is just almost awesome in its evilness.” Indeed.’

It is not true Democrats care for the poor according to Chicago Pastor James Meeks as he throws his support behind the Republican Gubernatorial candidate in Illinois.”

“The Democratic party just assume always that 97 percent of the African-American vote will go to the Democratic party. If that assumption is true, they never have to work for our vote,” Meeks said.

He worries about the gun violence, the poverty and the no-end-in-sight outlook. “Our schools are still broken and getting worse. We’re last in employment or business. Our neighborhoods are deplorable,” says Meeks. “And we still get the same promises from the Democratic party, but we don’t get any deliverable. I think it’s time we should look at another candidate.”

 Poster Meek summed it up saying: “The Democratic party just assume always that 97 percent of the African-American vote will go to the Democratic Party. If that assumption is true, they never have to work for our vote,” Meeks said.

Pastor Meek has 23,000 members in his church.

 The Democratic Party and Mr. Krugman’s methods of operation are to accuse, confuse and then conclude.

Obamacare is spending money like a drunken sailor. Obamacare has an outlandish bureaucracy that has produced little benefit. As this new entitlement grows it will bankrupt the country.

It is best for Democrats to blame the bankruptcy on the Republicans’ resistance.

Paul Krugman is an economist. He should heed the lessons of Economics 101. 

Mr. Krugman please watch this You Tube.

 The pity of it all is Paul Krugman is spinning the Story Of Obamacare away from reality.

Fewer and fewer Americans are buying into Obamacare as they see how it is affecting them in daily life through increased taxes and false rhetoric.

Obamacare is not an abstraction anymore. It is an ugly reality for those affected.

There is a much better way to provide healthcare coverage for all.

  The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone

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