[September 3, 2008 @ 5:50 pm] David Catron

As I have noted before, I have a rule of thumb that has served me well in assessing public figures and policy ideas: Anyone or anything Paul Krugman dislikes can’t be all bad.

So, when I saw that Krugman had trashed John Goodman about a (somewhat) tongue-in-cheek post he had written about abolishing the term “uninsured,” I knew Goodman must have made some worthy point. 

Goodman correctly points out that, like so many other terms used in today’s political and policy debates, “uninsured” has been rendered meaningless by misuse. Thus, he suggests dropping the misnomer:

Here is the idea: only people who are denied care are truly uninsured.  Everyone who gets care is effectively insured by some mechanism.  So instead of producing worthless statistics that people fling around in vacuous editorials and pointless debates, the Census Bureau should produce meaningful numbers, identifying all of the sources of funds people will draw on if they need medical care.

Krugman, with his trademark dishonesty, pretends not to understand what Goodman is getting at. Instead, he reduces the entire argument into one of his tired faux-progressive talking points:

Last week John Goodman, an influential figure in Republican health care circles, explained that we shouldn’t worry about the growing number of Americans without health insurance, because there’s no such thing as being uninsured. After all, you can always get treatment at an emergency room.

You would think that a guy like Krugman, who was once actually respected as an economist, could come up with some new material. But, alas, it is not to be. Instead we get “After all, you can …… zzzzzzzzzzzzz

In reality, Goodman’s post provides a pretty good blueprint for classifying “the uninsured” in a way that might actually be useful in clarifying the health care reform debate.

Not that Krugman and his fellow travelers are interested in clarity. 

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