Jon Cohn’s TNR piece Mandate Overboard goes (in somewhat grueling detail) into a defense his estimate that a mandateless universal insurance plan will leave a substantial number uninsured. I’ll say it more simply.
Voluntary universal health insurance is a Harvard economist’s fantasy.
Obama’s campaign, meanwhile, is attacking Paul Krugman by showing that he said nice things about the Obama health plan before dissing it. But what Krugman’s been dissing is Obama coming out and attacking the mandates in Clinton and Edwards’ plan. Most of us thought that Obama was being late and careless when he introduced his plan (not to mention chose his adviser). Only when he started beating up Clinton on mandates did Krugman go after him.
Given that the majority of Democrats prefer single payer anyway I have no idea why Obama thinks this is good politics in the primaries (see the CODA). Although as I said in my Spot-on piece on Friday I think that he has no intention of introducing real health care reform in 2009 if he actually wins.
But then you get a Harvard economist saying this about mandates: “A better approach is to do everything possible to make it affordable and available. When it is, almost everyone will have it.”
I think by “it” he’s referring to health insurance and this is the same Harvard economist who thinks our current health care system provides “reasonable value”.
I am eagerly awaiting Cutler’s explanation of how he reconciles the “reasonable value” we are allegedly currently getting from the health care system with the presumably massive reduction in prices/costs of health care that’s going to be needed to make insurance “affordable”. I guess we’ll just be getting excellent value then!
CODA: By the way if you doubt that Democrats favor single payer then consider these two questions from the recent Gallup Poll:
"Do you think it’s the government’s responsibility to make sure that everyone in the United States has adequate health care, or don’t you think so?"
84% of Democrats say yes. compared to 54% of independents and only 32% of Republicans
"Which of the following approaches for providing health care in the United States would you prefer: replacing the current health care system with a new government run health care system, or maintaining the current system based mostly on private health insurance.”
41% say replace, 48% maintain.
This one isn’t broken down by party, but if you do the rough math it’s pretty damn clear that a sizable majority of Democrats prefer single payer, and apparently Stan Greenberg estimates that it’s the choice of 70% of primary voters. But as it doesn’t seem to impact their vote, I think that it’s not as important an issue as all that when compared to getting the Republicans out of the White House. Hence voting for war hero John Kerry and now the newly centrist Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama.