Paul Krugman: Romney’s Sick Joke
Will Romney get away with it?:
Romney’s Sick Joke, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: “No. 1,” declared Mitt Romney in Wednesday’s debate, “pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.” No, they aren’t — as Mr. Romney’s own advisers ... conceded ... after the debate.
Was Mr. Romney lying? Well, either that or he was making what amounts to a sick joke. Either way, his attempt to deceive voters on this issue was the biggest of many misleading and/or dishonest claims he made over the course of that hour and a half. ...
So, about that sick joke: What Mr. Romney actually proposes is that Americans with pre-existing conditions who already have health coverage be allowed to keep that coverage even if they lose their job — as long as they keep paying the premiums. As it happens, this is already the law of the land. But it’s not what anyone in real life means by having a health plan that covers pre-existing conditions...
What Mr. Romney did in the debate, in other words, was, at best, to play a word game with voters, pretending to offer something substantive for the uninsured while actually offering nothing. For all practical purposes, he simply lied about what his policy proposals would do. ...
What about the claim made by a Romney adviser after the debate that states could step in to guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions? That’s nonsense... For one thing, Mr. Romney wants to eliminate restrictions on interstate insurance sales, depriving states of regulatory power. Furthermore, if all you do is require that insurance companies cover everyone, healthy people will wait until they’re sick to sign up, leading to sky-high premiums. So you need to couple regulations on insurers with a requirement that everyone have insurance. And, to make that feasible, you have to offer insurance subsidies to lower-income Americans, which have to be paid for at a federal level.
And what you end up with is — precisely — the health reform President Obama signed into law.
One could wish that Mr. Obama had made this point effectively in the debate. He had every right to jump up and say, “There you go again”: Not only was Mr. Romney’s claim fundamentally dishonest, it has already been extensively debunked, and the Romney campaign itself has admitted that it’s false.
For whatever reason, the president didn’t do that, on health care or on anything else. But ... never mind the theater criticism. The fact is that Mr. Romney tried to mislead the public, and he shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
Posted by Mark Thoma on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 12:48 AM in Economics, Politics |
You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.