Thursday, July 16, 2009


Another Krugman Non Sequitur, This One on Health Care

Look at this:

A trivial but telling example

Example of what? Of the absurdity of the US health care system.

Today’s mail brought a letter from Princeton: all faculty members must supply copies of their marriage licenses and of their 2008 tax forms if they want to have their spouses continue to receive health benefits. I don’t know exactly what that’s about — are there a significant number of my colleagues just pretending to be married?

We’ve checked — we don’t know where our marriage certificate is. We’ve already sent to California for a copy — but given the state of that state, God knows when or whether it will actually be delivered.

I assume the university has some good reason for doing this; but from a social point of view it’s just bizarre.

Now he doesn't say it in this particular post, but obviously Krugman is telling us our health care system is screwed up, and so the government needs to fix it.

So, does Krugman seriously believe that stupid pointless form-filling-out is going to go down when the government gets more involved in health care?

And let's look at the specific reason this is such a chafe for him. The government record keepers in the most "progressive" state in the country can't be bothered to send him the form he needs.

Far from justifying bigger government in health care, Krugman's anecdote--to the extent that it has any relevance--shows the opposite.

No, no, NO, Bob, because everyone will have health care there will be no need to verify your marriage to your employer; only to the state, who should have it stored in some file of whatever county of whatever state that approved and authorized your marriage (this is where your marriage attains legitimacy, not from God as some would assume).

Therefore, Krugdog's problem would be resolved with state-run health care. He may agree that there would be mounds of paperwork to still fill out- but at least he wouldn't have to find his marriage license, because nobody wants to be depending on the bureaucracy to get a new one when they could just depend on a bureaucracy to get some medical attention.
So, regarding the issue of the hour (is Krugman a liar or is he just dumb), we can check the "dumb" column on this one. Although I supposed it would be possible to check both here (he's lying but too dumb to realize the contradiction in his lie.)

Lila Rajiva thinks he's a liar:
OT, but bob did you see this recent post from the blogger Robert Stacy McCain?

it's so out there, meaning it's out there for anyone who cares to listen to what the elite openly says, that's it not even really a conspiracy anymore, i guess.
Actually, there is almost no paperwork involved when dealing with state-run health care. You have a magic card.

Canada's public health care system, by the way, is pretty crappy compared to others.

A state-run health care system can actually be pretty good. The question is: will it be cheaper than the alternative?
Anonymous, government provided health care surely requires some massive hierarchy to accomplish which in turn necessitates paper work, both for the customer and the provider, to keep some sort of check on fraud. For instance, there is a quota on how many eye glasses you can buy within certain time spans, and so you must report the event to get the rebate. (The provider then fill separately -- don't you need such bureaucracy in order to keep fraud in check?)

Here in Portugal, there is across the country what's called the Citizen's Shop so that you can update in one building all the information with regard to state services. Such offices used to be dispersed through the city, and, while you still have to wait much time to get anything done, at least it's done in one single place.)
If you don't have a national health service card (if you're not a citizen, or if you're and haven't got one yet or it's outdated), you should still be able to get treatment on a state hospital emergency room cheaply (€50 I think).

For ordinary consultations, most people prefer to go to private medical offices or hospitals. Not only should the treatment you get be a bit better, but the wait time are a particular issue in the state hospitals and clinics. You apply for the state rate through your employer which should have an account with the government or an insurance company.

I don't understand how paper work can be the standard of judgment of any health service, and Bob Murphy is correct to point out it won't go away.
i was talking from experience with the German health care system. It used to be very good - the paperwork is upfront, when you sign up with one of the many different public carriers. But, after that - it's very easy.

Again, does it make sense to run it this way? Probably not. The point is, it does not have to be as crappy as in Canada (which, quite frankly, stinks).

Oh, and when in Germany, non-residents have to pay for everything, too. :)
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