Why Paul Krugman Almost Feels Sorry for Mitt Romney - But Not Quite
Last Week Mitt Romney made a terrible gaffe. He actually said that Obamacare had resulted in more people getting health insurance (and bragged that his Romneycare in Massachusetts helped pave the way.) He immediately had to walk those comments back, since helping people in any way is anathema to today's GOP. Which is why Paul Krugman writes in Monday's column that he sometimes finds himself feeling sorry for Romney. "In another time and place, he might have been respected as an effective technocrat — a smart guy valued (although probably not loved) for his ability to get things done," Krugman opines. "In fact, that’s kind of how it worked when he was governor of Massachusetts, a decade ago."
Everything has changed however. Republicans no longer want to get anything done. Now, Ben Carson has earned frontrunner status in Iowa by comparing Obamacare to slavery, his favorite metaphor for everything. That statement appealed to 81 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers in Iowa. Double yikes!
Krugman, as any regular reader of his column knows, is all about celebrating the accomplishments of Obamacare, which has enabled some 16 million Americans to get health insurance who otherwise wouldn’t. That number would be way higher if states controlled by Republicans would accept federal subsidies to expand Medicaid.
Okay, okay, Obamacare is definitely not perfect, per Krugman:
How good is the insurance thus obtained? Not perfect: despite subsidies, policies are still hard for some to afford, and deductibles and co-pays can be onerous. But most people enrolled under Obamacare report high satisfaction with their coverage, which is hugely better than simply not being uninsured. And may I inject a personal note? If truth be told, I live in a pretty rarefied, upper-middle-class-and-above milieu — yet even so I know several people for whom the Affordable Care Act has been more or less literally a lifesaver. This is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a really big deal.
Oh, and have you noticed how those ads featuring people supposedly hurt by Obamacare have disappeared? That’s because none of their stories held up.
In fact, none of the doomsday scenarios have held up. Premiums in the first two years came in below budget, Krugman points out; health spending has slowed, jobs have not been killed; the budget deficit keeps inconveniently falling.
The Republican base apparently hates this. The "base is actually willing to lose money in order to perpetuate suffering."
Romney, once a semi-effective technocrat, has chosen the wrong people to hang with, Krugman concludes. Maybe someday he'll give up his delusions.
Don't hold your breath.