Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Krugman on the 'Medicare miracle'

Posted By on Mon, Sep 1, 2014 at 6:48 AM

click to enlarge 2-19-13health.jpg

Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times
about good news on the health insurance and federal budget front.

Medicare spending has slowed dramatically (see chart). Reduced Medicare spending means the federal deficit "crisis" is no longer a crisis. Cost-control measures in the Affordable Care Act have had a positive impact. Insurance rates are dropping, not rising, in the market falling under Obamacare structures. (What? You hate Obamacare like Tom Cotton? What's not to like?)

Here's a cautionary note for the Republican health care reformers in Arkansas. 

One involves the supposed savings from running Medicare through for-profit insurance companies. That’s the way the drug benefit works, and conservatives love to point out that this benefit has ended up costing much less than projected, which they claim proves that privatization is the way to go. But the budget office has a new report on this issue, and it finds that privatization had nothing to do with it. Instead, Medicare Part D is costing less than expected partly because enrollment has been low and partly because an absence of new blockbuster drugs has led to an overall slowdown in pharmaceutical spending.

The windfall profits for insurance companies from all the new government-subsidized customers doesn't come free.

But, generally, Krugman sees good news. The Pony Express and smoke signals will eventually penetrate even darkest Arkansas with this news, if not in time for Nov. 4.

For years, pundits and politicians have insisted that guaranteed health care is an impossible dream, even though every other advanced country has it. Covering the uninsured was supposed to be unaffordable; Medicare as we know it was supposed to be unsustainable. But it turns out that incremental steps to improve incentives and reduce costs can achieve a lot, and covering the uninsured isn’t hard at all.

When it comes to ensuring that Americans have access to health care, the message of the data is simple: Yes, we can.

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

Comments (32)

Showing 1-32 of 32

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-32 of 32

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The homeward bound open line

    I'm off to the airport for a flight home to Little Rock. See you in the morning.
    • Dec 27, 2014
  • The lonely progressives

    A Nebraska liberal writes of the plight of the lonely progressives in a state dominated by Republicans. Sound familiar?
    • Dec 27, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Humanists sue over Baxter County nativity scene. Looks like another winner

    The Baxter Bulletin reported today on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
  • Opinions split within GOP on "law and order" issues. Where will Asa stand?

    The New York Times reports that some Republicans are trending away from the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to criminal justice embraced by the party's old guard, in part out of a recognition that minority votes matter now more than ever. Asa Hutchinson wants to reach out to black voters — what better place to start?
  • U.S. growth rate highest in ten years; Arkansas economy also looking up

    National GDP grew by 5 percent in the third quarter, according to a revised figure by the U.S. Commerce Department. Arkansas Business reported yesterday that forecasters also predict a strong year of growth ahead for Arkansas. We're still waiting for Obamacare to deliver its promised economic implosion.
  • Here's to Hutchinson, McCain and American revulsion at torture

    On Nov. 16, 1776, Gen. George Washington stood on the Jersey Palisades and peered across the Hudson River through his telescope as the British tortured American militiamen who had surrendered and then put them to the sword. Hearing the screams of his men, according to an aide, Washington turned and sobbed "with the tenderness of a child."
  • Easy on the pay raises

    An independent commission appointed by the governor, legislative leaders and the chief justice began work last week to fulfill part of Issue 3, the constitutional amendment that eased term limits, banned lobbyist gifts to legislators (sort of) and provided a mechanism for pay raises.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation