The reason is simple: in the name of "controlling costs," the Canadian government through its "single-payer" plan simply withholds care through a "one-size-fits-all" system -- and that is what Paul Krugman claims we need to do here. (When he confidently asked an audience of Canadians if they believed they had a great system, he got responses that truly puzzled him, and certainly were not what he expected.)
(After the speech, a woman in the audience whose husband is a doctor told me that her husband spends about six hours a day doing paperwork in order to satisfy the government requirements. Please explain to me how this is any kind of positive change, especially considering that ObamaCare is going to pile on even more bureaucratic procedures into medical care.)
In a recent post, he claims that the way to get budget savings is for the government to withhold care. He doesn't put it that way, of course. Only a Keynesian and fellow-traveling statist could believe that when governments pile administrative procedures in medical care, such actions actually reduce real costs.
Like most statists, Krugman believes that costs are administrative numbers and the way that one reduces real costs is simply to order them to fall. So we get things like:
And the truth is that we know a lot about how to do that — after all, every other advanced country has much lower health costs than we do, and even within the US, the VHA and even Medicaid are much better at controlling costs than Medicare, and even more so relative to private insurance.Sorry, but this isn't economics. It is babble. Krugman really does believe that markets behave exactly like bureaucracies, and that one can substitute bureaucracy for market exchanges and actually get superior results.
The key is having a health insurance system that can say no — no, we won’t pay premium prices for drugs that are little if any better, we won’t pay for medical procedures that yield little or no benefit.
Every "market" in which government involves itself with massive "oversight" or outright running things is going to have increasing real costs, as careerist bureaucrats find ways to pile on procedures and paperwork. However, in American medical care, we often find that those procedures that neither are covered by insurance or government payments are marked by falling prices. Yes, why is it that things like lasik surgery have been becoming increasingly affordable despite the lack of third-party payments? (Or, maybe I should add that it is because of the lack of third-party payments.)
Like all good Keynesians, Krugman believes that markets over time drive up real costs, and the only way to make things affordable is for government to order costs to fall. That is not the real record of capitalism, of course, but Keynesians ignore that hard fact. Instead, they want us to believe that if government just could provide everything administratively, that we would be able to live in splendor and wealth. Just like they did in the U.S.S.R. WHERE THEY HAD FREE HEALTHCARE!