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Doc: NY Times' Krugman Using 'Doublespeak' to Defend Obamacare

By    |   Monday, 04 May 2015 04:09 PM

An Atlanta doctor is calling foul on liberal economist Paul Krugman, who ridiculed critics of the Affordable Care Act with a column in The New York Times saying that none of their predictions of disaster has come to pass.

"It's just an example of political doublespeak," Elaina George, an otolaryngologist and host of the online talk show "Medicine on Call," told "Newsmax Now" co-host John Bachman on Newsmax TV on Monday.

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Krugman wrote last month that Obamacare, with its mix of mandates and subsidized coverage, is a "policy success" that "should have the critics engaged in soul-searching about why they got it so wrong."

He pointed to the failure of insurance "rate shock" to materialize, because average premiums in 2014 came in about 16 percent lower than projected, while premiums for 2015 are rising by just 2 percent to 4 percent — "a much slower rate of increase than the historical norm," he wrote.

George, a consistent critic of the national healthcare overhaul, said Krugman left out the real reason for the slowdown in costs.

"Ultimately, if he was paying any attention to what's going on in healthcare, the healthcare cost has dropped not because it's cheaper but because it's gotten so expensive that people can't afford to access healthcare," said George.

"The out-of-pocket costs [for patients] have gone up," she said, adding that insurers have shrunk their networks of approved doctors and specialists and "have limited … what they cover so you can't actually get care because it's not allowed."

"If insurance companies don't allow a procedure or a test, then it doesn't get done and the person who suffers is the patient," she said.

George said she confronts "a lot of misconceptions about Obamacare," and one in particular concerns how much responsibility doctors bear for rising healthcare costs.

Payments to doctors account for just 17 cents of every healthcare dollar spent in the United States, yet it is doctors who are "on the front line of being abused by this system," she said of Obamacare.

"So, it's not the doctors that are costing people money," she said. "It's the insurance companies, the regulations set by the government, and everything else that makes up this medical bureaucracy."

George also praised the Supreme Court for a decision last week to throw out a lower-court ruling in favor of the health insurance law's contraception coverage mandate.

The justices ordered a federal appeals panel in Cincinnati to reconsider a ruling against a group of Catholic plaintiffs and to account for the high court's decision in the 2014 Hobby Lobby case, which allows corporations to seek religious exemptions from Obamacare's birth-control provisions.

George said the Supreme Court's latest move will not have an impact on healthcare "in the classic sense of everyday patient care, but it is a good sign that … parts of this law are being looked at and being removed, because these mandates really fly in the face of patient care and the Hippocratic Oath."

George also gave a thumbs-up to a professional colleague, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, for deciding on Monday to join the 2016 presidential race as a Republican candidate.

"Somebody who actually is a doctor [and] patient advocate instead of a policy wonk would be a nice change," she said.

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An Atlanta doctor is calling foul on liberal economist Paul Krugman, who ridiculed critics of the Affordable Care Act with a column in The New York Times, saying that none of their predictions of disaster has come to pass.
Elaina George, Paul Krugman, doublespeak, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, New York Times
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2015-09-04
Monday, 04 May 2015 04:09 PM
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