Krugman on Health Care Reform

July 27, 2009 at 8:41 AM (Uncategorized) (, )

This guy is usually all over the map, and IMO doesn’t take his argument far enough.

I see where he’s going with this:

Reform, if it happens, will rest on four main pillars: regulation, mandates, subsidies and competition.

But here, he’s missing another potential economic ‘cost shifting’. While he says:

Blue Dogs have also been complaining about the employer mandate, which is even more at odds with their supposed concern about spending. The Congressional Budget Office has already weighed in on this issue: without an employer mandate, health care reform would be undermined as many companies dropped their existing insurance plans, forcing workers to seek federal aid — and causing the cost of subsidies to balloon. It makes no sense at all to complain about the cost of subsidies and at the same time oppose an employer mandate.

That’s what happens if there isn’t a mandate. Here’s what happens if there is a mandate (unless separate regulation makes it more expensive to outsource than not:)

Corporate response to a mandate would be offshoring more jobs and layoffs.  Because corporations *love* single payer. As long as it covers overseas workers, so they don’t have to.

It feels like a case of damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

While the end of the article seems to say that the obstructing Blue Dog Democrats are really ok with some kind of effective reform, my cynicism is showing, tempered with a bit of common sense.

if their position is incoherent, it’s because they’re nothing but corporate tools, defending special interests. And as the Center for Responsive Politics pointed out in a recent report, drug and insurance companies have lately been pouring money into Blue Dog coffers.

They’ve been painted as the Hounds of Hell by their own party, and it’s tempting to see it that way, but not realistic  Their motives may have a bit more to do with being insulated from healthcare disaster, than being a caricature of Snidely Whiplash. They may have no clue. They want to maintain their lifestyle and keep their Senate seats. Their motivation is local, not national. If they’re receiving $$$$$$$$ from pharma and AHIP (whose web page is so full of obscure bs about “reform,” it ain’t even funny.), then the appearance of being bought and paid for may match very well with reality. They know themselves, their family will have a great life and great insurance. If they have enough $$$ to get reelected. (and this is, of course, true across the aisle as well.)

The real devil, Rick Scott, former healthcare-company-gutter, is crowing now….


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