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Part 1: Can Paul Krugman Be Serious?

Alexa's picture

Broken Piggy Bank
[Photo Credit: "Broken Piggy Bank," Photostream of 401(K) 2012, Photo Taken on December 1, 2011, Canon PowerShot SD600, flickr]

From his blog, "Conscience Of A Liberal":

I Have Seen The Future, And It Is Medicaid

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 . . .]


Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

comparisons between the proposed (at the time) ACA and European and Canadian health care systems/plans.

For the life of me, I have never understood (quite) how Krugman's considered a "liberal"--guess it's the "everything is relative rule," LOL! [After all, he worked side-by-side with Larry Summers in the Reagan White House.]

Submitted by lambert on

It works as a link, although the browser may, or may not, be able to display it. That's why, at least if I remember, I put [PDF] after a link to a PDF file, to warn readers.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

Thank you, thank you Alexa for bringing it here. I watched every second from beginning to end. Super clear chronological narrative told through voices of advocates and victims with not even a hint of shrills and hysteria (though hysteria would be fully justified).

A small masterpiece.

Please everyone watch it!

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Thank you, RG.

And I would add--if time constraints should cause readers to balk a bit, please consider listening to a least the first portion (half) of the video--especially when the Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) attorney DeSousa actually explains and documents so concisely "what happened," and so powerfully presents the deception employed by the State of Tennessee.

DeSousas words are backed by the presentation of several documents, which clearly indicate that leading a major advocacy organization (hers) was led to believe that they "had a seat a the table" in negotiating major changes (cuts) to the TennCare program, at the same time that the Administration circulated memos and emails which ridiculed and scoffed at the organization.

IOW, the Administration did NOT bargain "in good faith."

Splashoil's picture
Submitted by Splashoil on

55+ Medicaid clawback, a growing trend of states outsourcing and privatizing coverage, no Federal mandated "loss ratio" and throwing Union TH health care plans under the bus. PK? Swiss my ass.
Thanks for all your posts. Raicilla is probably the only medicine that may help and not for long.

Submitted by lambert on

Mexican moonshine. Or the expat's local beverage of choice.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

You're welcome.

See that you still give them heck at DKos from time to time--keep up the good work! They need someone to speak some truth over there! ;-)

Submitted by lambert on

I read that and near choked on my coffee. Surprise, the program for people who have no assets -- hence no political leverage, at least in a pay-to-play system -- is wicked cheap.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I actually stopped breathing for 30 seconds when I got to the "too bad."

Alexa, you've done a huge-huge mitzvah putting this one on the radar.

I've never heard Krugman speaking with quite the contempt and nastiness before. And that is saying something. So Paul Krugman is not only ignorant on major issues in his supposed field of expertise ("economics") but he's also a nasty courtier straight out of the backstage of Louis XIV's court. And vastly ignorant about Medicaid, it seems, which he doesn't quite seem to grasp has been privatized to the point where the "government" part consists mainly of public servants entering into contracts with HMOs and ensuring profits for the insurance companies by helping them slice out treatments, doctors and reimbursements.

F*** Paul Krugman and the horse he rode in on. This is what you get when the lackey-punditry of a plutocratic elite writes about conditions that affect millions but not him personally. And what do you want to be that he considers himself a nice, liberal, minority-loving Democrat?

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Thank you, Lambert.

And thank you for the venue. ;-)

Also, thanks for clarification on PDF links, on what "Raicilla" is (was going to have to ask Slashoil, LOL!), and for the CAP "Bredesen link."

I "hope" that he is not considered for HHS Secretary in the future. But his views are almost identical to the Bush HHS Secretary, former Utah Governor (Republican) Mike Leavitt.

I am a bit concerned that Bredesen may be picked up by a Republican Administration eventually.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

I am pushed, and cannot readily retrieve the "Tweet" that I read earlier today.

However, I wanted everyone to know that according to an "unauthorized WH source" (Bloomberg News piece), the website is set up to "nudge" individuals who begin to sign-up, but who don't complete the process.

IOW, after October 1, if one goes to this website and enters their info (which includes their email address)--they can expect to be "nudged" into completing the application process--through "email reminders."

Just thought readers might want to be forewarned!

Might want to use a "throw away" email address!

[I will try to find this "Tweet" again, and post the link here.]