Saturday, March 2, 2013

Paul Krugman, Propagandist

As we enter on that long and winding road that will lead us to some form of government controlled health care, it is good to pay heed to the immortal words of our dear leader, Paul Krugman.

In the midst of the Obamacare debate Krugman fearlessly stepped forth to assure us that the British National Health Service was a splendid organization. He denounced everyone who had been speaking ill of the great British system. Even if we end up with something like the British system, Krugman averred, we have nothing to fear:

In his words:

In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do. 

With visions of universal health care dancing in his head Krugman laid down a marker:

At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.

Krugman is using a rhetorical trick. Having no facts to sustain his belief, he pretends to be completely convinced. With a tone that is positively Krugmaniacal the columnist makes it appear that no rational or moral  individual could possibly dispute your views.  He declares that those who disagree with him are morally defective, as in, greedy… or dupes, as in, gullible.

Now we have an opportunity to submit Krugman’s assertion to a reality test. The British government has conducted an extensive survey of people who work in their National Health Service. They asked a fair question: would they or would they not recommend their hospital to a friend or family member?

The Daily Mail reported the results:

Nearly 40 per cent of doctors would not recommend their own hospital to friends or family, startling new figures reveal. 

A further one in three do not believe NHS managers act on the concerns of patients.

The Department of Health’s own survey also found that a third of NHS staff had witnessed medical blunders or near misses at least once in the last month.

It turns out that the “scare stories” are true.

It’s time for the real propagandist to stand up.


Anonymous said...

Stuart - I think that you are being terribly unreasonable in bringing evidence and figures into this discussion. After all, Krugman is a Great Professor at Princeton, Nobel Laureate, and (most importantly) New York Times Columnist - so we should just believe him because he is so wonderful, brilliant, and selfless.

Sam L. said...

Paullie "The Beard" Krugman always knows he knows what he's talking about, even when he contradicts himself from a few years or months ago.

"Krugmaniacal"! Gotta love that. Stroke of genius, Stuart!

Anonymous said...

The comparison must be made of both systems side by side, the costs and the benefits. No such facts are given here.

The costs in our system are due to proprietary technology (patents on machines and medicine) as well as the high cost of tuition for doctors and nurses, all these investments must be repaid from cash flow charged to patients through the insurance scheme which carries more overhead costs.