Krugman On ObamaCare – Just Make Stuff Up Faster Than The Opponents

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Former Enron adviser Paul Krugman has decided to fight fiction with fiction in the health care debate, and when the opposition spreads BS, he will spread BS twice as hard.

He correctly notes this Republican miscue:

Given this evidence, what’s a virulent opponent of reform to do? The answer is, make stuff up.

For now, however, most of the disinformation involves claims about costs. Each new report from the Congressional Budget Office is touted as proof that the true cost of Obamacare is exploding, even when — as was the case with the latest report — the document says on its very first page that projected costs have actually fallen slightly. Nor are we talking about random pundits making these false claims. We are, instead, talking about people like the chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee, who issued a completely fraudulent press release after the latest budget office report.

Jonathan Cohn takes us through the math; his gist is that the CBO was re-estimating the cost of one portion of the program, not the whole program net of taxes and Medicare savings.  Is Rush listening?

However, since Krugman is citing the new CBO report, his opening salvo is intellectually inexplicable:

To understand the lies, you first have to understand the truth. How would ObamaRomneycare change American health care?

For most people the answer is, not at all. In particular, those receiving good health benefits from employers would keep them.

No, no, no.  Let’s cut to the CBO summary, on the very first page of the summary:

CBO and JCT’s Key Findings

CBO and JCT continue to expect that the ACA will lead to a small reduction in employment-based health insurance.

A “small reduction”?  Here in investigative blogging land we call that a clue.  We can glean more from the full report (and already have); this is from their lead paragraph on the very first page:

As reflected in CBO’s latest baseline projections, the two agencies now anticipate that,
because of the ACA, about 3 million to 5 million fewer people, on net, will obtain coverage through their employer each year from 2019 through 2022 than would have been the case under prior law.

Another clue!  Despite citing the “very first page”, Krugman seems to have overlooked both the key findings and the opening of the full report.  And the phrase “on net” is fraught – in summary, CBO projects (using 2019 for illustrative purposes) that about 11 million people will lose their employer-based coverage as employers drop out; another 3 million will elect to drop their employer coverage and join a subsidized exchange. As a partial offset, about 9 milion people who formerly lacked employer-based coaverage will get it.  On net, 5 million lose their coverage, but 11 million are on the broken end of the promise that their coverage would not be affected.

The gory details, also seemingly overlooked by Krugman:

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Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

2 Responses to “Krugman On ObamaCare – Just Make Stuff Up Faster Than The Opponents”

  1. 1

    Nan G

    Good catch, Curt and Just One Minute!
    Most of us have known from that start that Democrats employed many accounting tricks when they were pushing through the national health care legislation, the most egregious of which was to delay full implementation of the law until 2014, so it would appear cheaper under the CBO’s standard ten-year budget window.

    Many taxes were front-loaded while benefits all come later…..if at all.

    Remember all the double counting and that whopper about enforcing SGR (the cuts in physician payments under Medicare – or ”doctor fixes”) that the CBO was forced to use in its original estimate?

    You know…..those ”doctor fixes” STILL have not been implemented!

  2. 2

    Liberal1 (objectivity)

    As I see it, if the conservative party had the same concern about equitable health care as being a right to ones pursuit of happiness, like the liberal party, then we could have arrived at a better plan. But, conservatives, as usual in matters of rights—e.g., women’s sufferage, miscegenation, etc.—stood in the way of giving rights to everyone. But that’s the effects of our current political adversarial system, instead of a cooperative one; as long as we’re fight each other so virulently, we can’t get anything accomplished to the advantage of everyone.

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