Paul Krugman finds it “puzzling — and disturbing — when Democrats like Charles Schumer, senator from New York, declare that the Obama administration’s signature achievement was a mistake.”
Citing some recent positive health care news from the Urban Institute, Krugman declares Obamacare a policy success.
“Yet it has not, of course, been a political winner for Democrats.”
“The Schumer critique … calls health reform a mistake because it only benefits a minority of Americans, and that’s not enough to win elections. What President Obama should have done, claims Mr. Schumer, was focus on improving the economy as a whole.”
“The point is that the pre-Obamacare system put many Americans at the constant risk of going without insurance, many more than the number of uninsured at any given time, and limited freedom of employment for millions more. So health reform helps a much larger share of the population than those currently uninsured — and those beneficiaries have relatives and friends. This is not a policy targeted on a small minority.”
And “economic management is about substance, not theater. Having the president walk around muttering ‘I’m focused on the economy’ wouldn’t have accomplished anything. And I’ve never seen any plausible explanation of how abandoning health reform would have made any difference at all to the political possibilities for economic policy.”