What Paul Krugman Doesn’t Understand about the Health Insurance Debate

A book could be written on the topic, but let’s just focus on a couple of items. Don Boudreaux:

Dear Mr. Krugman:

On your blog today you document that the percentage of Americans without health insurance has fallen since Obamacare kicked in.  You conclude that “[t]his is what success looks like.”

You miss the point of Obamacare’s most careful critics.

None of these critics denies that government can successfully use a mix of regulations, taxes, and subsidies to effectively mandate an increase in the number of Americans who have health-insurance policies.  Instead, the real concern is that Obamacare will either diminish the quality or the accessibility of actual health-care provision (rather than of health insurance) or that the costs of the extra health-care provision made possible by Obamacare – costs reckoned as the value of other goods and services sacrificed as a consequence – will be excessive.

See also David Henderson. Apparently, the only way that Krugman can win an argument these days is by dishonestly framing the terms of the debate.

Of course, I am sure that this story will not get any kind of mention on Krugman’s blog:

It wasn’t supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month.

That 12 percent spike in the number of patients — many of whom aren’t actually facing true emergencies — is spurring the hospital to convert a waiting room into more exam rooms.

“We’re seeing patients who probably should be seen at our (immediate-care centers),” said Lewis Perkins, the hospital’s vice president of patient care and chief nursing officer. “And we’re seeing this across the system.”

That’s just the opposite of what many people expected under Obamacare, particularly because one of the goals of health reform was to reduce pressure on emergency rooms by expanding Medicaid and giving poor people better access to primary care.

(Emphasis mine.) Gee, I wonder how many other ways Obamacare will fail to work as expected.

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