Have you noticed that The New York Times editorial page is becoming increasingly strident, increasingly emotional and increasingly irrational? Here is Paul Krugman in last Monday's column:
Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan…want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.
No, that's not a misprint. The Republicans actually want to let some people die so that they can reward their rich friends. It's not an isolated comment either. Under the heading "Death by Ideology," Krugman actually lists all of the ways in which a President Romney would proceed to kill people. For example:
• Mr. Romney wants…to repeal ObamaCare and slash funding for Medicaid — actions that would take insurance away from some 45 million nonelderly Americans, causing thousands of people to suffer premature death.
• And their longer-term plans to convert Medicare into Vouchercare would deprive many seniors of adequate coverage, too, leading to still more unnecessary mortality.
• [M]any, and probably most, older Americans — would be left with inadequate insurance, insurance that exposed them to severe financial hardship if they got sick, sometimes left them unable to afford crucial care, and yes, sometimes led to their early death.
So what, you may ask, is the basis for all this vitriol? Krugman is writing about health care — a subject about which he has proved time and again he knows virtually nothing. On this occasion he lets loose with this bold assertion:
The overwhelming evidence, however, is that [health] insurance is indeed a lifesaver, and lack of insurance a killer…there's no real question that lack of insurance is responsible for thousands, and probably tens of thousands, of excess deaths of Americans each year.
Krugman claims to have reviewed the economics literature. If he has, then he is an embarrassment to the economics profession, despite his Nobel Prize. Then again, if he claims to have done so but really hasn't, I suppose that's equally embarrassing. (And remember, while all this is going on he is invariably calling everyone who disagrees with him a liar.)
John C. Goodman is President and CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, Senior Fellow at The Independent Institute, and author of the acclaimed book, Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis. The Wall Street Journal and National Journal, among other media, have called him the "Father of Health Savings Accounts." He is also the Kellye Wright Fellow in health care. The mission of the Wright Fellowship is to promote a more patient-centered, consumer-driven health care system.