Krugman Too

In today’s NY Times Krugman, in passing, obliquely referenced the results I described yesterday, that Medicare beneficiaries are more satisfied with Medicare than are the non-elderly with private insurance.

Today, Medicare — which is, by the way, one of those “single payer” systems conservatives love to demonize — covers everyone 65 and older. And surveys show that Medicare recipients are much more satisfied with their coverage than Americans with private insurance. [Emphasis mine.]

Despite what Krugman and others say, these results do not show and cannot be interpreted as showing that public insurance causes greater satisfaction than private insurance. Such results, biased by sample selection, are handy rhetorical tools, but they don’t actually tell you anything.

(Actually, little secret, those survey results also show that Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage (private plans operating under Medicare) are a bit more satisfied than Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in traditional fee for service Medicare. There are selection problems with this comparison too so I won’t conclude that it means that people like private plans more than government ones. Would Krugman?)

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