Obamacare Isn't 'Socialist Hellhole,' It's Switzerland

Krugman: White House plan not all that radical
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 17, 2009 7:34 AM CDT
James Newman protests the health care reform plan supported by President Barack Obama during a rally Saturday Aug. 15, 2009 in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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(Newser) Investor's Business Daily made a howler when it said the British physicist Stephen Hawking "wouldn't have a chance" under the UK's health care, but for Paul Krugman, the "vile and stupid" editorial missed the point. Obamacare doesn't look like the British system, in which government runs hospitals and pays doctors. Rather, it resembles the Swiss model, using regulation and subsidies for private companies to make sure everyone has coverage.

The health service in Switzerland—"not a socialist hellhole the last time I looked," Krugman writes—has already been tried in Massachusetts with some success. The New York Times columnist would rather see a true public option to compete with private insurers, which will keep costs down. But Swiss-style universal coverage is doable, and "a vast improvement on what we have now."