Tag Archives: New York Times

BRILLIANT, MR. PRESIDENT! SIMPLY BRILLIANT.

“We’ll cut hundreds of billions of dollars in waste and inefficiency in federal health programs like Medicare and Medicaid…” President Barack Obama’s op-ed on health care reform in the New York Times.

Brilliant! Why didn’t Presidents Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, or Bush II think of this?

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THERE YOU GO AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT

“There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be catching diseases like…prostate cancer on the front end.” President Barack Obama’s op-ed on health care reform in the New York Times.

Once again, Mr. President, wrong end. It reminds me of a banker friend who years ago told me about his first annual adult physical: “The doctor told me he was going to give me a digital prostate exam. I said it was simply amazing what they can do with computers these days.”

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A BILLION HERE, A BILLION THERE STILL DOESN’T ADD UP TO $65 TRILLION

“(B)y making Medicare more efficient, we’ll be able to ensure that more tax dollars go directly to caring for seniors instead of enriching insurance companies. This will not only help provide today’s seniors with the benefits they’ve been promised; it will also ensure the long-term health of Medicare for tomorrow’s seniors.” President Barack Obama’s op-ed in the 8/16/9 New York Times.

Let’s see, Medicare’s total unfunded liabilities are somewhere around $65 trillion. The amount the President would like to cut in Medicare Advantage payments to those unjustly enriched insurers is about $11 billion per year. At current long-term Treasury interest rates, the savings would handily cover the interest on the interest on the interest on the debt required to make Medicare whole.

It’s a start, I guess.

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THE TUBE’S NOT THAT LONG, MR. PRESIDENT

“(W)e will require insurance companies to cover…colonoscopies. There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be catching diseases…on the front end.” President Barack Obama’s op-ed in the New York Times, 8/16/9.

Uh, I don’t think it’s that end, Mr. President.

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WHO WAS PAUL KRUGMAN?

A health economist acquaintance of mine likes to joke that Paul Krugman is the first economist in history to receive the Nobel Prize posthumously. Since the award is given only to living recipients, his point is that Mr. Krugman’s apparent second incarnation as New York Times columnist and self-professed liberal-with-a-conscience shows no evidence of the intellectual rigor that enrobed him on the Stockholm stage. Even the Times’ own former ombudsman has lamented Mr. Krugman’s “disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.”

Mr. Krugman continued to prove this point in a recent Times column that purports to explain “Why Markets Can’t Cure Healthcare.” In it, he leans heavily on a 1963 paper by Kenneth Arrow (another Nobel laureate) entitled, “Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care.” Mr. Krugman said this paper “demonstrated—decisively, I and many others believe—that health care can’t be marketed like bread or TVs,” and that markets cannot be the answer to our health care problems.

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