Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Martin Feldstein, a brilliant conservative economist, has his facts wrong on the health care debate in an op-ed he penned today in the Washington Post.
Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight concisely explains Feldstein's error:
Feldstein is simply mistaken here. "Single-payer" has to do with who pays for health care (in the case of single-payer, the federal government does). It has absolutely nothing to do with who provides health care. It's the difference between the Canadian system, in which private doctors and hospitals are paid by the Canadian government (and indirectly, Canadian taxpayers) to provide health care to its citizenry, and the British system, in which the providers themselves -- doctors, nurses, hospital administrators -- are actually in the employ of Her Majesty's Government. For that matter, it's the difference between Medicare -- a single-payer system for American seniors -- and the British system. The Canadian system is nationalized health insurance. The British system is nationalized health care -- or if you prefer, socialized medicine.
Obama has never expressed or implied any admiration for the British system of socalized medicine. Not that there aren't admirable elements of it -- but I doubt that you'd find even very many self-identified liberals who would suggest that it's the right system for America. Obama, rather, has expressed admiration for a government-run monopoly on insurance -- single-payer -- as do about half of Americans in opinion polls.
Got it? Get it? Good.