Paul Krugman’s Perverse Criteria for Obamacare ‘Success’

I want you to buy an Obamacare plan... or else!The criteria Paul Krugman uses when he declares Obamacare a great “success” are obtuse and perverse.

So the government forces people to to sign up for a health care plan under Obamacare by threatening a penalty if they don’t. –> Many people sign up. –> Paul Krugman declares Obamacare a “success”.

No further comment required on that point.

The next thing Krugman argues in his latest column, he tries to downplay the rising cost of premiums resulting from the law. It’s all a shell game to him. He points to low premiums paid by people who receive a subsidy, writing that, “among those receiving federal subsidies — the great majority of those signing up — the average net premium was only $82 a month.”

But $82 isn’t the cost of the premium. It’s just the portion paid by the person getting the subsidy. The actual cost of the premium has not come down. It has gone up! It’s just being paid for by someone else. Krugman acknowledges this:

Yes, there are losers from Obamacare. If you’re young, healthy, and affluent enough that you don’t qualify for a subsidy (and don’t get insurance from your employer), your premium probably did rise. And if you’re rich enough to pay the extra taxes that finance those subsidies, you have taken a financial hit.

So the government uses force to expropriate wealth from some individuals in order to redistribute to other individuals (e.g., perversely forcing the healthy to subsidize health care costs for the sick). –> Overall costs for premiums rise, with the former group now bearing not only the costs for their own rising premiums but also the costs of others’ higher premiums. –> Paul Krugman declares Obamacare a success.

See, everybody? Government use of force and coercion in violation of individuals’ rights works! Let’s have some more!

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  • Davey

    Seems like someone didn’t understand where the money for subsidized health care would come from.Or why we subsidize human rights.

  • Maira

    You had to be North American, of course. In Canada, all the European Union, Japan and Australia, we DO pay for the sick’s healthcare with our tax money. We like to do so.
    Sickness is an inverted lottery in which EVERYONE is participating. I am healthy now, I take care of my diet and exercise regularly, I don’t smoke. But I might suffer a car accident or an infection or something that destroy my lungs. Maybe I could afford regular healthcare paid by me, but, could I afford a liver, kidney or lung transplant should I need one? No, I couldn’t.
    By the way, here in Spain we have one of the highest world rates of organ donation. I bet one of the reason is, everyone knows the organs will benefit whoever needs them, not whoever needs them AND has the money to pay for the surgery.

    In any case, what I don’t understand is why Nort Americans prefer to pay double per person for private healthcare, while not covering everyone (prior to Obamacare), rather than have a national health service, cover everyone, and pay half. Most European countries pay about 3000 dollars per year per person and have everyone covered. Americans used to pay 6000 per year per person, covered with tax money the most expensive segments of population (the very poor, the elderly and the war veterans), while they gave private companies the luxury of covering the young, healthy and affluent. Of course, that means very good private healthcare if you have the money, but, guess what? In Europe there are also private doctors, clinics and hospitals. If you have money you can still go private. If you don’t you still get treated by highly professional doctors (you will share your hospital room, though, and there will be no luxuries).

    Hey, if Americans prefer to pay twice the tax money to not have everyone covered by national healthcare, that’s their choice to make. I just don’t find it reasonable. It’s not humanitarian to leave people without healthcare… but it’s more expensive, and I’ll be damned if I ever understand how Americans, who love their taxes money so much (who doesn’t) accept to pay double for not getting the service. Baffles me.

    • http://www.jeremyrhammond.com Jeremy R. Hammond

      I don’t understand why you say “we DO pay for the sick’s healthcare with our tax money” — as though the US government didn’t expropriate wealth from Americans for health care purposes, only to contradictorily say further down that Americans “pay twice the tax money”. Why you think any of us are content with the way things are with health care is equally baffling. I don’t know where you got that strange idea from.

      The idea of everyone sharing in some risk by paying into an insurance pool is one thing. Using force to steal the fruits of others’ labor is quite another. Forcibly expropriating wealth from the healthy to redistribute to the sick is perverse.

      Also, government can’t revoke the law of supply and demand with price controls. Its intervention just creates distortions and introduces inefficiencies and results in other unintended consequences (e.g., higher costs for care, less choice of doctors, longer wait times, etc.) What baffles me is how anyone can thing that government bureaucrats making choices at best arbitrarily (if not out of corrupt self-interests) know better than the free market and its pricing system how to direct scarce resources to productive ends.