Over the past 2 1/2 years, NY Times columnist, Princeton Economics Professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman has cited my work a number of times, for which I am eternally flattered. However, I'm pretty sure I've never really cited his writing otherwise (perhaps I have and don't recall).
Today, however, I'm doing so in response to the trashing I received from a certain subset of commenters here to my posts "On healthcare, I have to side with Hillary" and "OK, you asked for it, what about HILLARY's healthcare plans?"
The other day, Krugman wrote a short piece called "Wonks and Minions":
Right now I’m getting the kind of correspondence I usually get from Rush Limbaugh listeners, although this time it’s from the left — I’m a crook, I’m a Hillary crony, etc., etc.. OK, been there before — back in 2008 I was even the subject of tales about my son working for the Clintons, which was surprising because I don’t have a son.
...What’s really funny is that neither Mike nor I, nor, I think, any of the other wonks-turned-evil-minions have changed positions....I argued for an Obamacare-like strategy on health care, with perhaps a very gradual transition to single-payer via the public option, in my book The Conscience of a Liberal; andmost of the progressive health care experts I can think of adopted pretty much the same position. So nobody should be surprised that a candidate who appears to be disregarding the analysis that led to these positions is coming in for some criticism.
When I cross-posted my honest opinion about Bernie Sanders's "Single Payer Now!!" healthcare plan overhaul vs. Hillary Clinton's "Improve the ACA but Stay the Course for now" incrementalism, I received praise from those who agreed with me, which I appreciate. I also received honest disagreement from some who brought up points I hadn't considered, or where we simply had to agree to disagree...respectfully. I also appreciated that.
And then there was this:
It’s pretty easy for him in his seat of comfort and privilege to ignore the millions of Americans without health care that need help yesterday. He’s got his, he can wait as long as he wants for changes that might get those people covered and he is specifically advocating that it should take a really long time, time that so so many DO NOT HAVE.
That’s why I simply don’t believe it when he claims to be or have been on the fence. I think he’s always been a Clinton supporter and is only saying that he’s on the fence as a way to try to gin up credibility with Sanders supporters so the concern trolling will be more effective. And make no mistake, that’s exactly what I see this diary as: a Clinton support concern trolling the Sanders campaign over healthcare.
What sucks is that I used to like reading the diarist’s work and he was credible to me. Now? Not so much.
I’m actually embarrassed that so many Democrats are just okie-dokie with so many millions suffering. Sickening.
Since it was a keynote speech and they provided transportation, I can only presume that it was a paid performance. Then you assure us that you have learned the entire alphabet and several three and four letter combinations. Congratulations on your achievement. Evidently that confirms to me that you are a literate shill of the insurance companies.
Oh, and there's more:
You’re not a shill, but you are an industry insider whose own personal and professional identity is wedded to incremental reform to such an extent that your pronouncements in favor of it are neither surprising nor illuminating.
He’s a self-made (and accredited) ACA expert who analyzes ACA in great detail, runs a for-profit website promoting ACA’s operation and benefits and makes paid appearances to explain and promote ACA.
He is a paid ACA expert and advocate. He’s intimately familiar with its intricacies and gains professionally from detailing them. And now he states he wants that system to continue as is, or maybe get more intricate and expand slowly and profitably? That is not surprising.
...and so forth. Apparently there are those who honestly think that I'd rather see 30 million people suffer and die rather than give up the "gravy train" I'm supposedly riding with this cash cow.
I should reiterate that Daily Kos where I started the ACA Signups project in the first place, and where I've been an active member for over 12 years now.
Throughout the dark days of the 2013-2014 Open Enrollment Period, I was given high praise for my work with the ACA data...so much so that when Markos Moulitsas held a fundraiser to thank me for my efforts, the response was overwhelming. I will always be incredibly grateful for the dKos membership's support.
For two years, I was considered a trusted voice of reason and accuracy about Obamacare and related healthcare/health insurance matters in the middle of a sea of bullshit spewed by the likes of FOX News, Breitbart, the Daily Caller, the Daily Signal, Avik Roy, Scott Gottlieb, NewsMax and so forth.
Then, last week, I stated that after having given the matter much thought and consideration, I've come to the reluctant decision that in spite of my ideal preference for single payer, given the political climate and the realities of how the healthcare industry works in the United States, along with genuine concerns about Sanders's plan and Hillary Clinton's prior attempts to push for universal healthcare in different ways, I've decided that her less-sexy, incremental approach to improving healthcare coverage and quality, as clunky and piecemeal as it may be, is the better way to go at this time than Sanders's "revolutionary" proposals...but also pointed out that the ACA itself paves the way for single payer (at least at the state level) IF the voters really do feel strongly enough about it.
...and suddenly I'm being called a "shill of the insurance companies", a "concern troll", "sitting in my seat of comfort and privilege" while being "okie-dokie with so many millions suffering." In fact, I'm apparently "sickening."
Now, it's entirely possible that I'm simply wrong in my evaluation of Sen. Sanders's plans, of Sec. Clinton's plans, or both. I don't think so, but it's possible. I've also made it absolutely clear that IF Sen. Sanders happens to win the nomination, I'll support him 100%. Hell, if he pulls it off I'll donate as much money and time as I can possibly afford to get him elected...and not simply as the "lesser of two evils" either.
However, at no time have I ever questioned his commitment to improving the quality, affordability and scope of healthcare coverage to the American people. I've never called him a "shill" or a "troll". I've never claimed that he's "sickening" or that he's "OK with millions suffering."
Perhaps being treated like this simply comes with the territory now that I've developed a bit of a name for myself. Perhaps the mistake was mine for diving into the Hillary/Bernie healthcare battle in the first place. I'll have to re-evaulate myself in this regard. But what I won't put up with is ANYONE trying to claim that I'm "okie-dokie with so many millions suffering."
Since I obviously can’t expect every dKos member to have a clue who I am, let me set a few things straight:
- I don’t work for the insurance industry.
- I don’t work for the healthcare industry.
- I don’t work for any political candidate or organization (aside from as a website developer for a few campaigns...including, I should note, a member of the dKos family who strongly supports Bernie Sanders).
- Yes, I receive a few bucks from the banner ads at ACASignups.net.
- No, the revenue from those ads doesn’t cover the amount of time and effort it takes to maintain the site.
- Yes, I’ve made exactly one paid appearance before the Society of Actuaries annual convention last summer.
- Yes, I support universal healthcare coverage (whether single payer or similar).
- As I’ve noted, the ACA itself already includes a pathway towards SP at the state level (see Colorado’s ballot initiative), and has the potential for a Public Option (again, at the state level) baked in via the Co-Ops (a dozen of which are still around, I should note). While the Co-Ops would have to be seriously reworked to survive/thrive, I still see that as having better odds of getting through than Bernie’s plan.
- Yes, I very much understand what it’s like to become overly infatuated with an insurgent Presidential campaign by an unconventionally charismatic candidate from Vermont who supports universal healthcare coverage: I got my start in politics as a huge Howard Dean fanatic. In fact, that’s what led me to join Daily Kos in the first place in 2003.
- Oh, yeah, and Howard Dean, who originally campaigned on universal coverage himself (before his campaign changed focus to the whole “Iraqi invasion” thing), and who, if I recall correctly, opposed the ACA at the time it was being voted on, supports Hillary even as the organization he created, DFA, has endorsed Bernie. In other words, it’s not a simple matter of “X good, Y bad!”
- No, I didn’t support Hillary Clinton in 2008 (I actually kinda liked Bill Richardson at first, then had a brief look at John Edwards before joining the Obama brigade)
- Yes, if you seriously think that I, of all people, am “OK with millions of people suffering”, you’re a fucking idiot.
And with that, I think I’m gonna take a powder from dKos until after the Presidential primary is over. Things have gotten too ugly around these parts of late.
PS Just to clarify: This is not a “GBCW!!” diary; I’m not leaving, I’m just lying low until the primary insanity settles down. It really just means I don’t plan on cross-posting here for the next month or so, that’s all (and I don’t cross-post often to begin with) . My yammering can still be found over at ACASignups.net daily, as always.
UPDATE: (sigh) OK, OK...as some have already pointed out, “taking a break” due to the bile/vitriol, even for a short period of time, would be pretty thin-skinned of me. Fine, I’ll stick around and will keep posting the nerdy ACA data-crunchy stuff, even during the primary (after all, the open enrollment deadline is coming up this Sunday).
HOWEVER, I’ve said all I’m gonna say about the Hillary/Bernie primary (and single payer vs. ACA) until the primary has been settled, fair enough?
UPDATE x2: I’m truly flattered by the words of support, and appreciate the “toughen up/thin skin” stuff as well.
Also, for the few who can’t seem to get it through their heads: I’m not hurt/offended by those who think I’m wrong about Bernie’s plan or the best way to get to SP/UHC. As I said above, I may very well be wrong. If Bernie does end up winning and somehow pushing it through, I’ll be absolutely thrilled to pull the plug on the ACA site (or turn it into an archive, anyway) and will bask in the glory of SP goodness, etc etc.
What I’m hurt by is those who have questioned my integrity, sincerity and honesty about why I wrote what I wrote...especially coming from this community in particular. There’s a world of difference between attacking someone’s position and attacking them personally, and some can’t seem to tell the two apart.
UPDATE x3: OK, I’m gonna inject some humor into this diary: Check out the email I just received:
Have you read Article 2 of the Constitution? States clearly you are NOT eligible to be President! How can you ignor a Constitution you claim you will uphold, and why did you just recently give up your Canadian citizenship.
I’m sure you’re wondering WTF this is about; why is someone confusing me with Ted Cruz?
It took me a moment to figure it out, but then I remembered that last spring, when it was reported that Cruz had forgotten to register TedCruz.com, I decided on a lark to snap up TedCrooz.org, TedCruze.biz and a couple of others.
Apparently this poor soul was oblivious to the actual website from which they were submitting the contact form.