Award-winning economist and best-selling author Paul Krugman's latest column for the New York Times is an unapologetic attack on the Republican Party for, in Krugman's words, "trying to deceive voters" and, in the process, "deceiving themselves."
What's got Krugman riled up this time is the GOP's official response to President Obama's 2014 State of the Union address, in which Washington congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers argued Obamacare "is not working" and, as proof, cited the experience of one of her constituents, Bette Grenier, who claimed to have seen her monthly premiums increase by a whopping $700.
Before explaining the problems with Grenier's story, Krugman makes quick work of McMorris Rodgers' assertion that Obamacare is not working. He notes that sign-ups, while slightly behind projections due to the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, are nevertheless happening at a rapid speed, and that most insurance companies are thus far not concerned that the applicant pool is too old and sick (which could lead to higher premiums for everyone else).
"[T]he law," Krugman declares, "is doing its job."
Moving on to Bette Grenier, Krugman, like Salon's Brian Beutler, points out that Gernier's story almost immediately fell apart once it was examined by members of Washington state's media.
The biggest problem with her tale was the fact that Grenier, if she wanted to, could have found a much cheaper alternative than the $700-hike plan, but she refused, saying, "I wouldn’t go on that Obama website."
Moreover, Krugman notes that Grenier's prior insurance was pretty bad — it was barebones, had "a $10,000 deductible" and "[offered] very little financial protection."
But instead of blaming Grenier, Krugman charges Republicans like McMorris Rodgers, who rely on "misleading stories at best, and often outright deceit" in order to portray Obamacare as an unmitigated disaster.
"Who pays the price for this deceit?" Krugman asks. "In many cases, American families. Although health care enrollment is actually going pretty well at this point, thousands and maybe millions of Americans have failed to sign up for coverage because they believe the false horror stories they keep hearing."
But they're not the only ones. Krugman also engages in a little bit of concern trolling, warning the GOP that their confidence in Obamacare's malfunctioning is leading them to a false sense of security about their chances in November's elections. "[C]onservative politicians aren’t just deceiving their constituents," Krugman writes, "they’re also deceiving themselves."
"Right now, Republican political strategy seems to be to stall on every issue, and reap the rewards from Obamacare’s inevitable collapse," he continues. "Well, Obamacare isn’t collapsing — it’s recovering pretty well from a terrible start. And by the time that reality sinks in on the right, health reform will be irreversible."