Krugman: Schumer Blew It by Trashing ObamaCare
Democrats' big mistake is running from the law instead of embracing it, he writes
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2014 1:44 PM CST
In this Feb. 6, 2014, file photo, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., is reflected in a TV monitor during a news conference at the Capitol.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite/File)

(Newser) – Paul Krugman today marshals a slew of stats to make the case that ObamaCare has been a clear success story in its first year. And while he expects Republicans to continue thinking otherwise, he writes in the New York Times that it's "disturbing" prominent Democrats such as Chuck Schumer are speaking out against it. In a recent speech to the National Press Club, Schumer argued that Democrats made a political mistake by focusing on health care instead of the economy as a whole. (You can watch the speech in full at C-SPAN.) The senator's main point is that the law "only benefits a minority of Americans, and that’s not enough to win elections," summarizes Krugman, who finds the thinking "deeply wrongheaded."

For one thing, the reform doesn't just help those who are currently uninsured but those who might be in the future because of a change or loss of job. And does Schumer really think that Republicans would have magically gone along with White House economic policies if ObamaCare disappeared? "We need to ask, what is the purpose of winning elections?" writes Krugman. "The answer, I hope, is to do good—not simply to set yourself up to win the next election." Schumer and all Democrats should be celebrating this law, "the best thing they've done in decades," not running from it. If they'd been doing that all along, "the politics of the issue might look very different today." Click for the full column.