OPEN LETTER TO PAUL KRUGMAN: HONESTY IS NEEDED IN THE HEALTHCARE DEBATE
by pmb, Thu Dec 06, 2007 at 10:57:38 PM EST
Paul Krugman is a respected progressive.
On healthcare, he would want a single payer system.
None of the Leading candidates went there; all of them favor private-public mixture.
Edwards and Clinton have individual mandate for all; obama wants mandates for children.
Throughout this debate, obama has said that he will be in a POSITION to enforce a mandate if there's ample proof that the health insurance provided by the government is cheap for working families.
obama's premise is that enforcing a mandate upfront is unnecessary since folks won't buy it unless it is cheap.
AND SPECIFICALLY OBAMA has said that he'll be open to mandates when he has the leverage to impose it and that he is not against mandates.
Krugman's entire basis for his criticism of obama is that his language provides fodder for rethugs. that's ridiculous. If obama is president he'll have the bully pulpit. AND IN A TRANSPARENT PROCESS rethugs will not be able to distort stuff.
Besides most people will enroll in a reasonable plan if it is cheap.
ANY HEALTH REFORM PLAN that doesn't aknowledge the fact that people will not buy a cheap plan they don't trust is dishonest.
I take exception to Krugman calling obama "not serious" about universal healthcare. What?
Obama tried to make health insurance a constitutional right of every Illinois citizen as a young state senator; he was TOO ambitious about and it didn't work with a republican governor and republican senate majority in the Illinois legislature.
He didn't give up though, in fact he went ahead and did the hard work of forming a group to study it and that group's recommendation formed the basis of the current illinois plan by Governor blagovevich(geez, this name is hard).
Obama must pen and open-editorial in teh new york times to answer krugman.
Here, in an interview with NH Sentinel, he elaborated on his approach to universal healthcare.
Re Mandates and Mudslinging (column, Nov. 30): Paul Krugman dismisses Senator Barack Obamas points about health insurance mandates as echoing right-wing talking points on health care. Really? It was two pragmatic Republican governors, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, who proposed mandates as cornerstones of their respective health reform plans. In California, resistance to that approach has come primarily from unions and Democrats. Although I have favored the mandate component of Mr. Schwarzeneggers plan, Mr. Obama raises valid points about the practicality of immediate mandates as the path to universality. In California, there are real questions about whether the insurance that people would be required to buy and able to afford, even with subsidies, would be worth having. Massachusetts has already had to grant waivers to many. In addressing this issue, carrots may prove more effective than heavy-handed sticks. John Walkmeyer San Ramon, Calif., Nov. 30, 2007
To the Editor: How can Paul Krugman limit his discussion of health care reform to the competing Obama-Clinton-Edwards universal coverage plans with nary a mention of a single-payer system? As Mr. Krugman has noted in previous columns, having insurance does not always equate to being covered when needed care is prescribed. Where all three universal coverage plans amount to subsidy schemes for the insurance industry, Representative Dennis J. Kucinichs single-payer plan would eliminate the unnecessary middlemen for-profit insurers and H.M.O.s with their high profits and huge administrative costs. Ernest A. Canning Thousand Oaks, Calif., Nov. 30, 2007
To the Editor: It is inconsistent for anyone to oppose an individual health insurance mandate and simultaneously support our current laws that require that emergency rooms provide care whether or not a patient is able to pay. Mandated emergency room care is ultimately what relieves individuals from having to buy insurance. I doubt that Senator Barack Obama or any Republican candidate is prepared to advocate the repeal of these mandates. We will never make progress on solving our health care crisis until Democrats accept the notion of a market-based solution and Republicans accept the notion that mandates will be required to optimize how the market operates. Kim Davis New York, Nov. 30, 2007
To the Editor: As a devoted reader who agrees with Paul Krugman 99 percent of the time, I urge him to rethink his stand on health insurance mandates. Consider: We mandate car insurance because of the damage a half-ton of hurtling steel can do to others, but we dont mandate that a car owner insure himself or herself. If health insurance coverage were mandated, it would be like setting up a parallel taxation. While a single-payer system would be far more efficient, it now seems even more unattainable. If Senator Barack Obama points out why Republicans will defeat the plans of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton or John Edwards, hes not echoing right-wing talking points but rather anticipating Republican criticisms. We shouldnt let the perfect be the enemy of the good, particularly when perfect will be defeated. Good policy is useless if its also bad politics. Mr. Krugmans policy recommendations may have some merit, but his political advice, in this case, is flawed. Peter Quince Ashland, Ore., Nov. 30, 2007http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/04/opinion/lweb04krugman.html?_r=1&oref=slogin