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‘Death panels’ could help reduce deficit: Nobel Prize winner Krugman

November 17, 2010

Paul Krugman, the Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist who won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2008, said on November 14 that “death panels” may be needed to help curb the nation’s budget deficit.

“Some years down the pike, we’re going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes,” he said. “It’s going to be that we’re actually going to take Medicare under control, and we’re going to have to get some additional revenue, probably from a VAT. But it’s not going to happen now.”

Krugman added that if President Obama’s deficit reduction commission “were going to do reality therapy, they should have said, ‘OK, look, Medicare is going to have to decide what it’s going to pay for. And at least for starters, it’s going to have to decide which medical procedures are not effective at all and should not be paid for at all.’”

“In other words, it should have endorsed the panel that was part of the healthcare reform.”

“Health care costs will have to be controlled, which will surely require having Medicare and Medicaid decide what they’re willing to pay for — not really death panels, of course, but consideration of medical effectiveness and, at some point, how much we’re willing to spend for extreme care,” he later clarified on his blog.


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  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Nov. 17, 2010 9:07 PM ET USA

    Congress won't put its members and families on the new healthcare system. That's enough for me to know.

  • Posted by: wolfdavef3415 - Nov. 17, 2010 1:31 PM ET USA

    Yes, but in Britain, a baby born a week too soon is allowed to die in her mother's arms over a 3 hour period while doctors stand around citing the law as the reason they are not allowed to help. Society progresses because of this?

  • Posted by: vincent.reed4686 - Nov. 17, 2010 10:22 AM ET USA

    I am uncertain of the procedure in Canada but in Britain we do not have death panels. I. Know this for a fact as I am currently recovering from cancer which I know I would have not been covered for in the US. Your insurance system refusing to pay for certain treatments is already in effect a death panel. There are certain drugs that the NHS will not pay for on the basis that the claims made by the pharma industry do not stand up to medical scrutiny.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 17, 2010 7:22 AM ET USA

    At least Krugman's honest, if ghoulish and horribly detached. But then, he doesn't have to worry because he's wealthy and will likely never have to face a death panel. It's a common trait of leftist politics that the policy makers subject everyone but themselves to their policies. His admission isn't surprising: death panels have been a feature of British and Canadian health care from the beginning. They are the inevitable consequence of single payer systems.