Paul Krugman slams Kentucky Republican’s anti-Medicare tweet: The 'stupidest' argument yet against universal healthcare

Paul Krugman slams Kentucky Republican’s anti-Medicare tweet: The 'stupidest' argument yet against universal healthcare

Medicare, launched in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society, has been overwhelmingly popular among senior citizens in the United States. But after 57 years, Medicare still has its detractors on the right — including Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky. And when the Republican congressman attacked Medicare in a February 9 tweet, he got a blistering response from liberal economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Massie tweeted, “Over 70% of Americans who died with COVID, died on Medicare, and some people want #MedicareForAll?”

Medicare offers universal health insurance to Americans who are 65 and older. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and many of his progressive allies, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have argued that Medicare should be expanded to Americans of all ages — an idea that President Joe Biden opposes. The centrist Biden, instead, favors strengthening Medicare for seniors but believes that universal health care can be achieved with an aggressive expansion of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, a.k.a. Obamacare.

Massie, however, obviously has a problem with Medicare in general, regardless of one’s age. And Krugman was quick to disagree that Medicare is to blame for COVID-19 deaths among seniors.

In a humorous but scathing response, Krugman tweeted, “Siri: Give me the stupidest thing anyone has ever said about health care.” And in a second tweet, Krugman elaborated, “I used to make fun of people who tried to make a big deal over the fact that a large share of hospital spending takes place in the last six months of life (yes, very sick people often die). But this is on a whole other level.”

Krugman’s point: yes, COVID-19 has killed a lot of seniors in the U.S., but that isn’t Medicare’s fault. Americans who are 65 or older are more likely to get sick or die because they are 65 or older, not because they’re on Medicare.

Here are some responses to the tweets from Massie and Krugman:

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