Krugman: Hey, At Least Obama Was 'Remarkably' Honest About His Healthcare Policies

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Posted: Aug 02, 2017 11:30 AM
Krugman: Hey, At Least Obama Was 'Remarkably' Honest About His Healthcare Policies

Of course it was Krugman.  When I first saw the Washington Examiner's social media headline -- "New York Times columnist: Obama was 'honest' about healthcare" -- I was briefly taken aback by the sheer brazenness of this lie.  It would take a very special, very insular, very out of touch hack to advance such a ludicrous claim with a straight face.  And only one tendentious, hysterical, obnoxious could figure fully fit that bill.  Take it away, Paulie:

In an op-ed published Monday, Krugman accused Republicans of repeatedly failing to pass a new healthcare bill because of their "dishonesty" in their criticism of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare..."Given this history, the Republican health care disaster was entirely predictable," he wrote. "You can't expect good or even coherent policy proposals from a party that has spent decades embracing politically useful lies and denigrating expertise." He said that by contrast, Obama was "remarkably clearheaded and honest about its policies. In particular, it was always clear what the A.C.A. was supposed to do and how it was supposed to do it — and it has, for the most part, worked as advertised."

This is pure garbage, even if we didn't know what we know about Jonathan Gruber's mendacious propaganda campaign on behalf of the law.  Yes, Republicans deserve criticism for endlessly (and successfully) campaigning against a law without ever unifying around a plan to replace it.  A handful of them have earned an added degree of opprobrium for siding with Democrats to cut off the 'repeal and replace' process.  But the revisionist nonsense that Obama was "remarkably honest" and "always clear" about his healthcare law is risible.  "It has, for the most part, worked as advertised," is the real capper.  Obama and his party told voters that the "Affordable" Care Act (even the name is a lie) would allow every American to maintain his or her preferred healthcare arrangements.  No one would take their doctors or plans away, "no matter what," he asserted.

This was exposed as so flagrantly false that even left-leaning "fact checker" Politifact bestowed its "lie of the year" honor upon the former president in 2013, as his core pledge crumbled for millions of people.  Americans were also promised more "choice and competition" (nope), a downward health spending cost curve (nope), fewer expensive ER visits (nope) and -- the big one -- significantly lower costs, across the board (absolutely, definitely not).  It's failing.  Remember, they were frantically shifting goalposts in 2013 and 2014; things have only gotten worse since we produced this mashup of violated presidential pledges:

Obamacare has badly destabilized the individual market, is dramatically shrinking options for many consumers, and has doubled federal exchange monthly premiums (with out-of-pocket costs also rising) over the last four years.  Krugman: Working as advertised!  Whatever you say, Paulie.  Also, the one data point constantly cited by Obamacare supporters, higher coverage rates, is hardly an "accomplishment."  Of course you'll technically cover more people when you massively expand a struggling program while legally requiring every American to obtain coverage.  The degree to which enrollment is faltering and falling far short of expectations is the bigger story on this front.  I'll leave you with a few excerpts from a recent column by my co-author, Mary Katharine Ham, whose family has been pummeled by Obamacare.  Here she is responding to a column from CNBC's John Harwood, who wrote dismissively that the GOP had agitated against a law that mostly impacted just a "tiny fraction of aggrieved Americans:"

Harwood is right that the individual insurance market, which is far smaller than the employer-based insurance market, disproportionately shoulders the burden of Obamacare’s attempts to expand insurance coverage. He’s right that there’s a smaller sliver of unsubsidized young-and-healthies within it that shoulders it most disproportionately. And, yes, many of those people, both with and without subsidies, are aggrieved. With very good reason. Far from a privileged group of fat cats, they are small business owners, middle-class families, and contract workers trying to make things work without the tremendous tax advantage given to health insurance provided by employers. With the system (actually!) rigged against them, they nonetheless did the responsible thing: buying insurance so they wouldn’t turn into burdensome free-riders. In return, these people were lied to repeatedly, told they would not face any of the consequences they have faced, made to bear the brunt of both Obamacare’s costs and broken promises, and now they’re denigrated for daring to point out they have been hurt.

Read the whole thing, which takes Harwood and the media writ large to task, including another slap-down of the inaccurate, yet constantly-regurgitated, "22 million would lose coverage" Democrat/MSM attack line.  Meanwhile,  working as advertised, you guys:

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