Orszagism is 'The Laffer Curve of the Left'

A mostly political weblog.
June 16 2009 6:24 PM

Orszagism is 'The Laffer Curve of the Left'

Megan McArdle: Orszagism--the belief that Obama's universal coverage plan will actually lower costs in the long run --is the "Laffer Curve of the Left." ... P.S.: Again, if you suspect McArdle is right, this doesn't mean you have to oppose Obama's plan. It just means you have to plan on paying for it. ... P.P.S.: As a supporter of universal coverage, I worry that Obama's "emphasis on reducing health care costs over expanding insurance coverage" will turn out to be as fateful a blunder as Bill Clinton's first-term decison to delay welfare reform until after health care reform . Why, exactly--as "Obama advisers say"--does "the focus on cost savings [have] appeal for all Americans, not just the uninsured"? It would seem closer to the truth to say the focus on cost savings has something to scare, or at least annoy, everyone in the health debate . Meanwhile, Obama's plan to expand coverage--by promising an end to "job lock" and the "preexisting condition" exclusion, plus the general fear that you're going to be stuck with an insurance company that has focused most of its effort on the fine print that will let it weasel out of paying for treatment when you really need it--has potential appeal way beyond the "uninsured." ...

Update: Tyler Cowen's Sunday NYT piece , which called Orszagism "voodoo economics," was on balance objectively Pro -Obamacare , I thought .  Cowen branded as "long overdue" Obama's key cost-cutting plan (to empower experts to fund treatments according to "comparative effectiveness").  In particular, Cowen endorsed "more limits on end-of-life-care." But that's easy for him to say--he's a conservative who doesn't think that when the government refuses to pay for non-"cost effective" medical treatment it's the same as denying treatment. (After all, patients can still pay out of their own pockets.)  If you are a liberal who thinks that not funding a $100,000 operation is effectively denying the operation to a large group of citizens--one reason, perhaps, that you favor universal health insurance in the first place--then supporting Obama and Orszag on this point isn't as easy. ...  3:28 A.M.

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