Noted healthcare economist Suzanne Somers received a full screen’s worth of valuable Wall Street Journal online space the other day to deliver her judgment on the Affordable Care Act. Before we get to the substance of her argument, let’s acknowledge that her piece has added to her worldwide fame. It may not do great things for the Journal’s reputation, though.
Somers, last seen hawking exercise equipment and cure-all elixirs in infomercials and her website, declared the act to be a “Socialist Ponzi Scheme.” She wrote: “Let’s call affordable health care what it really is: It’s socialized medicine.” This viewpoint probably conforms to that of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, in which case they deserve each other.
But in terms of facts: Sorry, no. The Affordable Care Act actually leaves U.S. healthcare in the hands of the private insurance industry. That’s not socialism. As for calling the act “a greater Ponzi scheme than that pulled off by Bernie Madoff,” it’s embarrassing even to have to debunk this. Suffice to say it shows Somers to know nothing about (a) Ponzi schemes, (b) Bernie Madoff, or (c) the Affordable Care Act. But we knew that.
Somers uses this assertion to veer into an extended rant about the Canadian healthcare system, which of course isn’t what we have in the United States. In any event, she gets the facts and figures about the Canadian system wildly wrong, as this post by Aaron Carroll, a true-to-life healthcare expert, explains.
The real question raised by Somers’ post, which has already generated a three-part correction, is whether the Wall Street Journal has any standards at all for what it publishes in this online feature labeled, we assume not facetiously, “The Experts.”
More: Suzanne Somers, Expert on Nothing