Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Krugman & Health Insurance Reform

I did a lot of reading in Dawson City, and a great book I finished is Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman (Chapters, Amazon). It gives a good overview of American politics from the end of the Gilded Age to the present, and especially a good synopsis of the rise and fall of movement conservatism. Krugman does an excellent job of describing complex issues in simple terms, and I really recommend the book to anyone interested in politics and economics - it's only a few bucks in paperback too.

It covers a lot of ground, but pays special attention to the health care issue, which is obviously very relevant at the moment. President Obama had a press conference today that laid out the issues really well. A few points in particular reminded me of points that Krugman was making.

First, Obama is right to market the pending legislation as health insurance reform and not health care reform, as it is indeed primarily an insurance issue. Nobody is proposing government-controlled healthcare along the lines of Britain's NHS, so if you hear people scare-mongering about socialized medicine you can rest assured they don't know what they're talking about. Any public option will be a public option for insurance (so closer to the Canadian system than the British system).

Second, Obama made the excellent point that the most expensive plan with the least coverage is in fact the status quo. The US currently spends much more than other developed countries on healthcare, with less to show for it. There is simply no sane reason to stick with the status quo when we can have better coverage for less. I encourage you to contact your representatives and senators to encourage them to pass legislation before the August break.

When I'm caught up from my trip a bit more I might give a more detailed overview of the Krugman book. It gave a lot of food for thought.

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