Krugman Provides the Numbers

Thanks, Krugman, for weighing in w/ the numbers.  Here’s what Everyone’s Favorite Keynesian predicts for public insurance stats:

DESCRIPTIONKaiser Family Foundation

Guys, this is a major program to aid lower- and lower-middle-income families. How is that not a big progressive victory?

For people in the center who worry, as my colleague David Brooks puts it, that there may be unintended consequences if you “centrally regulate 17 percent of the economy”: um, it’s a little late for that.

First of all, government insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and smaller programs like the VHA, already pay more bills than private insurance companies:

DESCRIPTIONCenters for Medicare and Medicaid Services

And even the private insurance is overwhelmingly provided through employers — and employment-based insurance is only tax-free unless it obeys extensive regulations. Not coincidentally, those regulations resemble, in a qualitative sense, the goals of the new health reform: employers have to offer the same policy to all their employees, which in effect rules out discrimination based on medical history and subsidizes lower-paid workers.

The point?  There’s no free market now, so why are conservatives screaming?  And the answer, of course, is: Everything happens at the margins.  If there’s no free market now, let’s move towards healthy competition, rather than away from it.  Every step away from competition is a step restricting liberty, kids!

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