George Will Schools Krugman On ObamaCare Driving Premiums Up

George Will Sunday gave New York Times columnist Paul Krugman a much-needed lesson on what happens if ObamaCare is passed.

Krugman wrote a piece Friday accusing Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) of lying at Thursday's healthcare summit about premiums going up if the Democrats' plan is enacted.

During the Roundtable segment of Sunday's "This Week," Will pointed out, "You said in the next sentence in your column, "I guess you could say he wasn't technically lying because the Congressional Budget Office says that's true."

Krugman responded by explaining that even though "the average payments go up," many people will receive better coverage.

To this inanity, Will marvelously asked Krugman if the government forced him to buy a more expensive car, but told him it's not really more expensive because it's a better car, "Wouldn't you tell them to get off your land?" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript, relevant section at 4:30):

GEORGE WILL, ABC NEWS: Now Paul says, that, in fact, the Republicans have no ideas. They do. Cross selling across state lines. Tort reform. All this. Just a second, Paul. Then you say they're telling whoppers, that was your view. He said about Lamar Alexander, "When he said, ‘For millions of Americans, premiums will go up.'" You said in the next sentence in your column, "I guess you could say he wasn't technically lying because the Congressional Budget Office says that's true."

PAUL KRUGMAN, NEW YORK TIMES: No, that's not what it says. Can explain this? This is actually a point.

WILL: Let me set the predicate here, because you then go on and say, "The Senate does say the average premiums would go up but people would be getting better premiums."

KRUGMAN: Let me explain what happens, because you actually have to read the CBO report. And what the CBO report tells you in fairly elliptical language is that what it will do, what the bill will do is bring a lot of people who are uninsured, who are currently young, and therefore relatively low cost into the risk pool which will actually bring premiums down a little bit. It will also however let a lot of people get better insurance. It will lead a lot of people who are currently underinsured who have insurance policies that are paper thin and don't actually protect you in a crisis, will actually get those people up to having full coverage. That makes the average payments go up, but it does not mean that people who currently have good coverage under their policies will pay more for their insurance. It does not. In fact, they'll end up paying a little bit less.

WILL: One question: If the government came to you and said, "Professor Krugman, you have a car. We're going to compel you to buy a more expensive car, but it's not really more expensive because it's a better car." Wouldn't you tell them to get off your land?

Delicious.

Taking this a step further, ABC's Jonathan Karl fact-checked what Alexander said Thursday, and reported the following:

Well, the CBO analysis does say, flatly, that "the average premium per person covered (including dependents) for new nongroup policies would be about 10 percent to 13 percent higher in 2016 than the average premium for nongroup coverage in that same year under current law." This affects the roughly 17 percent of Americans below age 65 who do not get their insurance from their employers.

Why are premiums going up? CBO cites the combination of three factors:

  • Premiums would be 27-30% higher because coverage would be better. The law, for example, requires that all policies cover maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health & substance abuse and no denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • Premiums would be 7 to 10 percent lower b/c of changes to the way the individual market is structured.
  • Premiums would be 7 to 10 percent lower b/c of an influx of more people, many of them healthy, into the insurance market.

The net effect of those three factors: Premiums would be 10 to 13 percent higher for the average policyholders.

As such, once again Krugman was basically making stuff up.

Alas, NewsBusters readers are quite familiar with him doing this.

Bravo, George! Bravo! 

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.