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Obama calls on David Cutler, who wrote his campaign's health care "plan," to keep the insurance companies in business

I guess the battle to prop up the insurance company's business model of denying care for profit must be heating up, since Obama feels the need for reinforcements. Via Harvard Crimson:

Noted health care economist and former Dean of the Social Sciences David M. Cutler ’87 will become the latest Harvard professor to serve in the Obama administration, he said in an interview late last night.

Cutler was one of the chief architects of President Barack Obama’s health care plan—a hot-button issue during the presidential campaign—and said he will continue to work on health care policy in D.C.

He has been consulting with Obama since at least April 2007.

I don't imagine he had anything to do with Obama's Harry and Louise ads -- though they might have given pause to anybody who thinks the Obama campaign's commitment to anything other than the insurance companies was genuine.

Here's an interesting interview with Cutler at Brad DeLong's place. Go read, just to be aware of the next round of dishonest talking points coming down the pike.

How I see it: Obama's policy can be summed up in three words: "Insurance companies first."

Cutler's idea -- and the idea of the "nudge" crowd of neo-freshwater economists* around Obama -- is to bring the costs of health care down, and then, with correctly crafted subsidies, we'll ultimately be able to cover everybody. More or less. Why is that dishonest?

Well, first, in the DeLong interview Cutler admits he doesn't have any numbers (his estimate of a 98%-99% enrollment is an "internal [unreviewable] calculation). That makes his whole schtick ideologically motivated. (A Harvard man?! I'm shocked.)

Second, think about it: We already know that single payer saves money. That research has already been done, by every other industrialized -- heck, civilized -- country. So, why focus on programs and policies to try to accomplish, in new ways, what has already been proven to work, by other countries?

There's only one answer: The policy objective is to keep the insurance companies in business. And that's what Obama brought Cutler to the Village to do.

NOTE * I think. They're certainly from Chicago, though not of the Chicago School, so I hope I'm giving them the right label.

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connecticut man1's picture
Submitted by connecticut man1 on

Obama must respond. The problem for Obama this time?

His campaign supporters are at the complete opposite end of the dial on single payer health care. He will have no echo chamber in the blogosphere, and more and more editorials and op-eds in the dead tree media across the country are reflecting this.

Krugman only asked Obama to try and get "Obama's campaign plan" moving in order to avoid a populist backlash over all the Robber Baron bankers and investers.

But Obama knows that the real populist backlash will hit if the answer is not single payer. For weeks, Congress critters have had their phonelines lit up on this and they know they are walking on eggshells.

Krugman asking Obama to move now might even help our side's cause. Whether Krugman did that purposefully or not?