Paul Krugman Selling Obamacare… Badly


Fact-checking New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is practically a full-time job. For a time, there was even a blog dedicated to taking down the inaccuracies he regularly spouts.

Monday’s column was no exception to his loose grasp of the facts surrounding Obamacare. From the second paragraph:

So, another week, another denunciation of Obamacare. Who cares? But Mr. Barrasso’s remarks were actually interesting, although not in the way he intended. You see, all the recent news on health costs has been good. So Mr. Barrasso is predicting sticker shock precisely when serious fears of such a shock are fading fast. Why would he do that?

With regards to “recent news” on the cost of Obamacare, Krugman somehow missed that an analysis by National Journal cited mostly bad news on August 29 when it predicted increased costs under Obamacare. Jonathan Cohn of The New Republic reported on a study by The Manhattan Institute showing that for the 13 states (plus the District of Columbia) creating their own insurance exchanges, costs are increasing. From the study:

Because Obamacare forces most Americans to buy health insurance, and subsidizes the purchase of that insurance for certain low-income populations, individual-market premiums in many of these highly-regulated states will go down. But in most others, rates will go up.

Next, Krugman cites a common argument by liberals that leaves a key fact unexplained:

And we now have a good idea what insurance premiums will be once the law goes fully into effect; a comprehensive survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that on average premiums will be significantly lower than those predicted by the Congressional Budget Office when the law was passed.

National Journal explained the key fact well in its analysis:

Premiums may be lower than predicted, but they’re not competitive with what workers are now paying for employer-sponsored care.

In other words, it’s great that “premiums will be…lower than those predicted” in March 2010, even though they are going to be higher than today’s premiums.

Next, Krugman says “conservative ‘experts’” are “conveniently ignor[ing] the subsidies many Americans will receive.”

Let’s make sure we have this straight. Krugman says health insurance is more affordable because costs are going to be higher – because of government intervention – then lowered (by government intervention). Meanwhile, the second intervention will add to the debt burden of the American people.

This is what the Obama Administration is selling?

Krugman goes after Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) as well, on a point unrelated to Obamacare:

How many Republicans know, for example, that government employment has declined, not risen, under President Obama? Certainly Senator Rand Paul was incredulous when I pointed this out to him on TV last fall. On the contrary, he insisted, “the size of growth of government is enormous under President Obama” — which was completely untrue but was presumably what his sources had told him, knowing that it was what he wanted to hear.

This is classic Krugman – change the topic when losing an argument. But since he brought it up, yes, government employment has gone down under President Obama. However, the cost of government has skyrocketed and is greater than almost any point in American history. Furthermore, the regulatory burden under President Obama has no equal.

If Krugman is the best salesman Obamacare has to offer, it’s worse than we thought.