Thank the government if you currently have decent health insurance
----says Nobel prize winner, professor of economics, author, editor, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.
That may puzzle some folks.
Some people even vehemently object to the government getting involved in health care and label it socialism.
But Krugman clearly believes health reform is being hindered by public misconceptions He contends that not only do most people not understand what President Obama is proposing, they don’t understand the way health care works in our country right now---- and don’t understand that the government is already deeply involved in health care, even in private insurance. "And that government involvement is the only reason our system works at all."
In a recent thought-provoking NY Times op-ed piece titled “Health Care Realities" ( It was later published in the Aug 2 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with the heading “Don’t fall for right-wing fright” ), Krugman raises several issues, including:
"Health care depends crucially on insurance". Medical treatment can be very costly and beyond what many can pay out of pocket. "Private markets for health insurance, left to their own devices, work very badly: Insurers deny as many claims as possible and also try to avoid covering people who are likely to need care."
“The government directly provides insurance via Medicare and other programs. Before Medicare was established, more than 40% of elderly Americans lacked any kind of health insurance. Today, Medicare covers everyone 65 or older. And surveys show that Medicare recipients are much more satisfied with their coverage than Americans with private insurance.”
“Most Americans under 65 have some form of private insurance. The vast majority don’t buy it directly ; they get it from their employers. There’s a big tax advantage to doing it that way, since employer contributions to health care aren’t considered taxable income. But to get that tax advantage employers have to follow a number of rules; roughly speaking, they can’t discriminate based on pre-existing medical conditions or restrict benefits to highly paid employees. And it’s thanks to these rules that employment-based insurance more or less works.”