31 May 2014

An Even Better Post From Krugman on the Wonderful Veterans Health Administration

Health Legislation 8 Comments

From back in 2006. Some excerpts:

American health care is desperately in need of reform. But what form should change take? Are there any useful examples we can turn to for guidance?

Well, I know about a health care system that has been highly successful in containing costs, yet provides excellent care. And the story of this system’s success provides a helpful corrective to anti-government ideology. For the government doesn’t just pay the bills in this system — it runs the hospitals and clinics.

No, I’m not talking about some faraway country. The system in question is our very own Veterans Health Administration, whose success story is one of the best-kept secrets in the American policy debate.

But here’s my favorite line: “[P]undits and policy makers don’t talk about the veterans’ system because they can’t handle the cognitive dissonance.”

In case you don’t get why that’s funny, it’s because since the recent VA hospital scandal broke, it’s been crickets from Krugman on his blog.

8 Responses to “An Even Better Post From Krugman on the Wonderful Veterans Health Administration”

  1. Kevin Donoghue says:

    Meh. Krugman is touring Europe. He’s berating the ECB and the Group of 30. Count the number of posts about anything at all (except his taste in music) since the VA hospital scandal broke. Output is way down.

    Wanna bet that when normal service resumes, we won’t see a post berating Republicans for waging needless wars and thereby creating the VA hospital problem which they now hypocritically deplore?

    I’m not saying his line of attack will be justified. I’m not American, still less a veteran and I know nowt about the VA system. But I do read Krugman and sure as fate there will be a post along those lines before too long.

    • Ben B says:

      Is that how Krugman is going to defend the VA as a model for universal government healthcare? Is he going to tell people not to get sick?

      • Ken P says:

        No Ben, they just need to get sick in an orderly fashion. Maybe people could give 30 days notice when they were going to get a cold, too.

        Ok, we all know here that price controls cause shortages typically resulting in increased wait times. The difficulties encountered when a non-market based approach tries to respond to a surge of business is more akin to the socialist calculation problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      I think more likely Krugman would say that first of all the Phoenix medical center scandal is the exception rather than the rules, and also that to the extent to which the VA does have some larger problems, it’s because Republicans didn’t provide it with the funding commensurate to the number of wounded veterans coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      I think Krugman would more likely say that to the extent that the VA does have some problems, it’s due to Republicans not providing sufficient funding to take care of the increases numbers wounded veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. But he would also say that the scandal with the medical center in Phoenix is not representative with the VA health system more broadly, which in his view measure up better than the private healthcare system in a lot of metrics.

  2. Major-Freedom says:

    If you want to know what kind of a person Krugman is, just read what he says about his ideological enemies.

  3. Bob Roddis says:

    In his columns, Krugman is belligerently, obsessively political, but this aspect of his personality is actually a recent development. His parents were New Deal liberals, but they weren’t especially interested in politics. In his academic work, Krugman focused mostly on subjects with little political salience. During the eighties, he thought that supply-side economics was stupid, but he didn’t think that much about it. Unlike [wife] Wells, who was so upset when Reagan was elected that she moved to England, Krugman found Reagan comical rather than evil. “I had very little sense of what was at stake in the tax issues,” he says. “I WAS INTO CAREER-BUILDING AT THAT POINT and not that concerned.”

    As opposed to now when he’s not into “career-building”.


  4. Tel says:

    … whose success story is one of the best-kept secrets in the American policy debate.

    Their waiting lists were one of the best-kept secrets in the American policy debate.

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