We have all known someone who, having paid an exorbitant sum for a car that seems to spend a lot of time in the shop, insists it’s the best automobile he’s ever owned. That’s Paul Krugman where Obamacare is concerned. His psychological and professional investment in the perversely titled Affordable Care Act is such that he cannot bring himself to admit that he bought a lemon. And like the guy with the pricey car that keeps breaking down, his claims about the dysfunctional law are becoming so preposterous that they are literally provoking laughter when he makes them in public.
This is what happened last week during a debate at Freedom Fest between Krugman and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation. The general topic concerned the restoration of the American dream and, considering the amount of damage Obamacare has inflicted on that dream, it was inevitable that the misbegotten health care law would come up sooner or later. Krugman, desperate to convince the audience that the rattletrap was “working quite well,” claimed that it had lowered the cost of U.S. health care. PJ Media’s Liz Sheld reports, “The whole room laughed at that howler.”
And the rejection of such ridiculous claims is by no means limited to knuckle-dragging conservatives, such as yours truly, or evil Republicans harboring an unreasoning hatred of the President. Even Obamacare architect and notorious rationing advocate Ezekiel Emanuel is able to face the facts that Krugman resolutely refuses to recognize. Discussing the health care law’s primary cost control mechanism in the Wall Street Journal, Emanuel writes, “The results so far are less than encouraging… most analysts expect that the growth in health-care costs will rise without further action.”
According to Krugman, those who make such assertions are not merely wrong. They are, as he writes in a May column, “reckless and dangerous ideologues.” Does Krugman see his fellow Obamacare apologist as reckless and dangerous? Or must one be a member of the GOP to qualify for this distinction? In this column he also decries the refusal of Republicans to admit that none of their dire predictions about the effects of Obamacare, like mass cancellations of health policies and soaring premiums, have come true. The reason for this, of course, is that they were amazingly accurate.
But Krugman has contrived to overlook this reality. He has studiously ignored stories like this one in Politico about cancellations of health policies, this one in USA Today about further cancellations, as well as countless other stories on the same subject. As to premiums, he managed to miss this story about the “sticker shock” New Yorkers experienced in 2015, though it appeared on the front page of the publication for which he writes. And it goes without saying that he will ignore this piece in the Wall Street Journal about the even more dramatic increases that are expected in 2016.
But perhaps Krugman only reads his own stuff. This is a good strategy if you’re trying to avoid reality. Another way to kid yourself and your readers is to conflate mandatory compliance with success. This is what Krugman is up to in a blog post he wrote a couple of days ago claiming the “rapid drop in the number of uninsured” means the law is working. He neglects to explain how increased insurance enrollment is a sign of “success” if failure to enroll in a plan is illegal. Krugman would have us believe that his overpriced clunker is “working quite well” because it passes mandatory emissions standards.
Krugman also fails to mention that the Obama administration has cooked the books on the uninsured rate. The reason he uses public polling figures instead of government statistics is that, as his employer reported last year, “The Census Bureau, the authoritative source of health insurance data for more than three decades, is changing its annual survey so thoroughly that it will be difficult to measure the effects of President Obama’s health care law.” In other words, despite Krugman’s claim that Obamacare has reduced the uninsured rate, he actually has no idea if it has or not.
In the same post he repeats another dubious piece of “evidence” that Obamacare is working: “It’s also a simple fact that outlays on Medicaid and exchange subsidies are coming in well below projections.” To make this sound like a success story, Krugman neglects to mention that the subsidies are below projections because the number of enrollees has been lower than initially estimated by the CBO. Spending is down because Obamacare has failed to hit its goals. Krugman is telling us that his jalopy burns less gas than expected without mentioning that this is due to its failure to start.
The name of Krugman’s latest effusion is, “The Inconceivable Success of Obamacare.” One wonders what Freud would make of this choice. Krugman claims that it is, “by any measure, doing better so far than even its supporters expected.” The man is obviously in denial. This clunker has been in the shop for repairs 51 times. The harder he tries to make us believe that the thing is working, the more ridiculous he appears. The reason Obamacare’s success is “inconceivable” is that it’s a failure.