Krugman's Clever Misdirection on King versus Burwell
By David Henderson
Paul Krugman is clever. In a post, “Most of the Way with Obamacare,” about the effects of Obamacare on the number of people with health insurance, he sneaks in two claims as if they are obvious and noncontroversial. The first claim is clearly wrong; the second is probably wrong.
Here’s Krugman’s first claim, and he leads the post with it:
As we wait for King v Burwell – just how far are Republicans on the court willing to destroy the institution’s reputation on behalf of their party? –
You wouldn’t know it from anything in this clause or anything in Krugman’s post, but the people on the King side of the legal case are the ones suing to uphold the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and the people on the Burwell side are the ones seeking to have the Supreme Court say, in effect, “Well, we know what the law says and the law does not establish subsidies for the federal exchanges in the various states that have not set up their own exchanges, but come on–let’s just assume that Congress got it wrong.” Substituting its own judgment for what the law clearly says would “destroy” the Supreme Court’s reputation?
Here’s his second claim:
Finally, of course, a large number of states are refusing to expand Medicaid and in general trying to obstruct the law.
The first part is true. Many state governments have refused to expand Medicaid. The second part? I think it’s false. I don’t know of any state government that is “trying to obstruct the law.” I am open to being told otherwise. I do know, though, of a government that is trying to obstruct the law. It’s the federal government. That’s what the case is about. See my discussion above on his first claim.