Rebuttal–Paul Krugman, “Medicare works better than private insurance”

I subscribe to and read the Kansas City Star, where Paul Krugman’s column frequently appears.  Krugman may be the most liberal columnist since Karl Marx.  Needless to say I rarely agree with even a single sentence in his columns.  His version of the truth is so different from my own that I want to argue against him – but the Star doesn’t allow it – a letter to the editor is restricted to 200 words or less, and you can’t say much of anything in 200 words.  Of course, if you could properly respond, they wouldn’t print it anyway.  The Star has a Liberal bias, and they print more Liberal than Conservative letters.  I’ve learned it’s best not even to try.

There is a column by Krugman in today’s Star (July 27, 2011) that riles me.  My opinion is that his stupidity is matched only by his ignorance.  Unfortunately, it is not on his website today, so I’ll have to paraphrase.  It will likely appear on his website in a few days.  Krugman’s website

The title of is column and the main idea is that “Medicare works better than private insurance.”  This statement may be true for the Democrat Party – which loves to support and promote entitlements — but in general it’s the reverse of the truth. 

The article is primarily designed to bash Republicans, but Obama comes in for a share as well, although his bashing is more subtle. 

He begins by stating that “what the president offered to the GOP, especially on Medicare, was a very bad dealSpecifically, according to many reports, the president offered both means-testing of Medicare recipients and a rise in the age of medicare eligibility.”    Krugman goes on to say, “The first would be bad policy; the second would be terrible policy.”  My view: means testing is one of the few areas where cuts should be made in Medicare.   Should millionaires receive it?  I don’t think so.  I’d begin reducing benefits at net levels of around $50,000 of net taxable income for single persons, and $75,000 for married couples, and cut them off completely above $100,000 and $150,000, respectively.  That would cut the medicare enrollment significantly.  Paul Krugman, no doubt a wealthy man, will have to take out his own insurance if I have my way.  I think the Medicare age should be the same as the Social Security retirement age.

He goes on: “And throwing Americans in their mid-60’s off Medicare . . .”  My response: No plan I’ve seen envisions making any change whatever in eligibility to those currently receiving Medicare (except possibly Obamacare – which purports to cut 800 billion dollars out of it, somehow, in 10 years.) 

He goes on: “Medicare, with all it’s flaws, works better than private insurance . . . It has been more successful in controlling costs.”  Where to begin?  Medicare is to doctors as pro bono work is to lawyers.  The government controls how much a doctor is paid for each procedure or test.   Doctors have to write off the difference.
Some rebel – they stop taking Medicare patients.  Future plans, especially those propounded by Democrats, propose to reduce pay even further.  Private insurance pays a percentage of the doctor’s usual charges.  Since Medicare shortchanges doctors, they respond by raising their usual rates.  This increases health care costs for everyone.

Krugman:  “Also, did I mention that Republicans are doing all they can to undermine health care reform – they even tried to undermine it as part of the debt negotiations – and may eventually succeed?  If they do, many of those losing Medicare coverage would find themselves unable to replace it.”  This is nothing but the most despicable demagoguery.  The determination to revoke Obamacare  doesn’t mean Republicans want to undermine health care.  Here Krugman reveals how immensely biased he is.  Republicans have suggested many ideas to reform health care, and all are intended to reduce the cost without losing effectiveness.  Democrats didn’t accept a single Republican amendment to Obamacare, which they had to pass without a single Republican vote.

Krugman’s article is largely directed at the Ryan plan, although he doesn’t mention it specifically.  I could go on about this ridiculous column, but that’s enough for now.



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