Paul Krugman savages elite pundits for ignoring Obamacare's success

The New York Times columnist argues that media elites are too out of touch to notice the program's victories

Published July 14, 2014 1:56PM (EDT)

Paul Krugman                                                                                                                                                       (Reuters/Chip East)
Paul Krugman (Reuters/Chip East)

In his latest for the New York Times, celebrated economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman argues that the media has ignored the way Obamacare's gone from a disaster to a remarkable success, largely because the media is comprised of wealthy elites who never saw the reality of poor or nonexistent health insurance for millions of Americans as anything more than an abstraction.

First, however, Krugman offers a quick recap to his audience, informing them of multiple surveys showing Obamacare has already dramatically reduced the nation's uninsured rate. Not only is the rate down, but the data so far indicate that premiums haven't risen much and, contrary to some conservative claims, there's little reason to believe the sudden decrease in the number of uninsured can be chalked up to an improving economy instead of the Affordable Care Act, especially when one notices that improvements have been more marked in states that accepted Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.

"It’s not the economy," Krugman writes, "it’s the policy, stupid."

Turning to the gap between reality and the media's coverage, Krugman says there are two primary reasons the gap exists. One, because Obamacare was designed to disrupt as little of the health insurance marketplace as possible; and two, because most elite pundits are, by their very nature, shielded from the realities of life with poor or nonexistent health insurance:

[A]s I suggested earlier, people in the media — especially elite pundits — may be the last to hear the good news, simply because they’re in a socioeconomic bracket in which people generally have good coverage.

For the less fortunate, however, the Affordable Care Act has already made a big positive difference. The usual suspects will keep crying failure, but the truth is that health reform is — gasp! — working.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

MORE FROM Elias Isquith

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Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Media Obamacare Paul Krugman Punditry Pundits The New York Times