Part 1: Can Paul Krugman Be Serious?
September 21, 2013
. . . And then there’s much wringing of hands about how nobody knows how to control health costs, so maybe we should just give people vouchers, and if they still can’t afford insurance, too bad.
Meanwhile, we have ample evidence that we do know how to control health costs. Every other advanced country does it better than we do — and Medicaid does it far better than private insurance, and better than Medicare too. It does it by being willing to say no, which lets it extract lower prices and refuse some low-payoff medical procedures.
Ah, but you say, Medicaid patients have trouble finding doctors who’ll take them. Yes, sometimes, although it’s a greatly exaggerated issue. Also, middle-class patients would surely be unhappy if transferred from the open-handedness of Medicare to the penny-pinching of Medicaid. . . .
I plan to follow-up on this post with more information on a state Medicaid plan, known as "TennCare," which (DLC) Democratic Governor, Phil Bredesen all but dismantled several years ago. [What Bredesen did in Tennessee makes Arizona Governor Jan Brewer look like a piker!]
Contrast the Krugman piece above with this 2007 "Families USA" Booklet entitled Unwilling Volunteers: Tennesseans Forced Out Of Health Care. [Tennessee is known as, or nicknamed, the "Volunteer State."]
Here is a brief excerpt below:
Unwilling Volunteers: Tennesseans Forced out of Health Care
"The collapse of the TennCare program has shocked Tennessee's healthcare system in a way that no other state has ever experienced."
In 2005, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen executed the largest cuts in health coverage in our nation's history. Tens of thousands of people were dropped from TennCare, the state's innovative Medicaid program. Others who remained in the program had their benefits slashed. The loss of TennCare benefits meant that many people missed needed care and medicines, making their illnesses and other health problems worse. For others, losing TennCare literally—and unnecessarily—cost them their lives.
Against this backdrop, it is instructive to look beyond the numbers and see what has happened to the real people affected by the TennCare cuts. That is what this book is designed to do. These stories show, without a doubt, that cuts in Medicaid and other public health programs devastate people's lives.
I have seen figures of cuts [from the TennCare rolls] as high as 323,000.
This number is contained in a video which I will post in Part 2, entitled "323,00 (TennCare Cuts)."
The idea that a plan like this could even be remotely considered as a "model" for what so-called liberals would be willing to settle for, is absolutely beyond belief, not to mention flat-out obscene.
[To be continued . . .]