Tuesday, September 16, 2008

do your kids deserve health insurance?

I take my talking points on health care from Ezra Klein. And apparently today, he's taking them from Brad DeLong. So here they are:

Brad DeLong has a bunch of them. I'd slim the list down to three for each candidate. For McCain:

• McCain's health care plan will increase taxes on employer-based insurance, and kick 20 million people off the rolls.

• McCain's plan will throw you into the individual market, where the same plan your employer offered will cost $2,000 more, and you can be refused care because you were sick 10 years ago.

• McCain's plan will shift costs onto the sick.

For Obama:

• Obama's plan will cover tens of millions of Americans and reform the insurance industry such that everyone gets a fair deal and no one can be discriminated against because they were once sick or unlucky.

• It will create a group market that businesses can buy their employees into so that a small business that paints homes doesn't have to run a tiny insurance company on the side and an entrepreneur can pursue his idea without having to learn about health coverage regulations.

• It will cover all children. And Christ almighty, isn't it time we did at least that?
Past time.

This topic has special salience for me this month since until October 1, I'm one of the 47 million uninsured in the U.S. Cross your fingers for me and the other 46,999,999!


HispanicPundit said...

It's interesting to see Furman talk down McCain's healthcare reforms when in reality, one can make the argument that McCain got the idea from Furman himself - before he was Obama's economic advisor, of course.

Yes, Furman, and really most economists in general (including Brad DeLong) favor breaking the link between employer and employee - and what better way to do that than to tax it and provide private alternatives as substitutes?

See more on this here, here and here.

And it makes sense, just think how much more expensive auto insurance would be if it was covered by employers instead of employees - and, in addition, covered everything including wear and tear on tires, and gas. That is, in a nutshell, the argument against corporate funded healthcare. It's pure partisan politics (and dishonesty) for Furman, DeLong, and any other economist to now be against it.

yave said...

Kling works at Cato. Mankiw worked in the Reagan and Bush II administrations. I'm not surprised they support the McCain plan.

That doesn't mean that most economists support McCain's plan (as Mankiw said ["My guess is that most health economists would endorse the Furman-McCain plan" from your second link] and you echo). In fact, the opposite is true.

Via Tyler Cowen, the economists surveyed in this poll favor Obama's plan over McCain's 65%/20%.

As far as what Brad DeLong and Jason Furman really think, I'd rather listen to what they are telling me than what their ideological opponents tell me they really think.

HispanicPundit said...

I didn't just link to what Kling and Mankiw said, if you follow the links you will find links from DeLong and Furman themselves - in their own words, supporting the McCain proposal.

In case you missed it, here is DeLong, here is Furman, and here is Furman again.

In other words, you don't have to take right leaning economists word for it - take Obama's supporters and chief economic advisor's word for it.

yave said...

I note that in the link to DeLong's utopian plan from 2007 you provided, he goes on to praise Obama's plan. He also calls for single payer for all costs over the 20% deductible and for the complete elimination of insurance companies. I don't think those elements are contemplated by the McCain plan. And I'll point out again, DeLong himself keeps saying on almost a daily basis how much the McCain plan sucks for not offering enough people enough coverage and how mendacious the press is for covering the plan favorably. It's fairly creative to paint him as a supporter of the plan.

Furman and DeLong aside, what about the 65% of economists in the survey I linked to who think Obama's plan is preferable to McCain's, which only 20% support? Perhaps it's hackery, but then you've pretty much got to condemn the profession as a whole with that kind of differential.

HispanicPundit said...

Of course he does, he is a Democrat economist - he is going to want more government solutions, not less.

We are speaking past each other here, my point is not that DeLong or Furman endorse fully the McCain healthcare plan, or that they are secretly McCain supporters - my point is that when it comes to the specific element of McCain's healthcare plan of breaking the link between employer and health insurance, they both agreed it was the right thing to do - before they became Obama economic supporters.

That specific element of McCain's healthcare policy - again, breaking the link between employer and health insurance - is a widely held view among economists, both right and left leaning. As DeLong's and Furman's previous support shows.

Yet now they criticize that specific element of McCain's healthcare plan. In other words, they are being dishonest and highly partisan in doing so, that's it.