Kristol’s unintentionally helpful interview

KRISTOL’S UNINTENTIONALLY HELPFUL INTERVIEW…. If you watched last night’s “Daily Show,” you caught another entertaining chat between Jon Stewart and Bill Kristol. Because of time constraints, though, the show could only broadcast a part of the larger interview, which is a shame, because the whole thing is worth watching.

There’s probably no point in trying to fact-check everything Kristol said — there was quite a bit of nonsense — but the Weekly Standard editor did make this provocative claim: “One reason the price of health care is going up so fast is because of government programs. The price of Medicare and Medicaid have gone up faster than private insurance. That’s well-documented.”

Ezra Klein did a nice job explaining (with charts) what’s true in the real world: “It is true that the growth rates of Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance are well-documented. But the documentation shows the opposite of what Bill Kristol says it shows. The price of Medicare and Medicaid have gone up much more slowly than private insurance.”

Kristol, in other words, in one of his key claims in opposition to reform, has reality backwards, and inadvertently made the case for more government intervention in the health care system.

Also noteworthy were Kristol’s observations about health care for military troops and veterans (a point of particular interest to us at the Monthly, given our important cover-story on this a few years ago). Kristol said one of the ways we reward those who wear the uniform is with “first-class health care,” while the “rest of us can go out and buy insurance” from private insurers.

Kristol, apparently oblivious to the point he’d just conceded, watched as Stewart explained, “Get this on the record. Bill Kristol said that the government can run a ‘first-class health care system, and a government-run health care system is better than the private health care system.”