Throughout the primaries, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman was Sen. Hillary Clinton’s most oft-quoted columnist to assail Sen. Barack Obama in her flyers and mailers. A supporter of her health care plan — and an opponent of Obama’s — Krugman provided Clinton will a seemingly never-ending stream of quotes in which the Princeton economist eviscerated Obama’s various policy proposals.
In a blog entry last night, however, Krugman finally kicked in with an assist by digging up a quote of McCain’s that will assuredly become a part of the Obama stump speech tout de suite.
It comes from the Sept./Oct. issue of Contingencies, the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries, in an article by McCain titled "Better Health Care at Lower Cost for Every American."
The graph in question — with the key part bolded here:
"I would also allow individuals to choose to purchase health insurance across state lines, when they can find more affordable and attractive products elsewhere that they prefer. Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation. Consumer-friendly insurance policies will be more available and affordable when there is greater competition among insurers on a level playing field. You should be able to buy your insurance from any willing provider—the state bureaucracies are no better than national ones. Nationwide insurance markets that ensure broad and vigorous competition will wring out excess costs, overhead, and bloated executive compensation."
Writes Krugman: "So McCain, who now poses as the scourge of Wall Street, was praising financial deregulation like 10 seconds ago — and promising that if we marketize health care, it will perform as well as the financial industry!"
I would be shocked if Obama isn’t saying within the next 24 hours that McCain pledged to de-regulate the health care industry as he and the GOP has done with the banking industry.
UPDATE: I see in Obama’s prepared remarks, just sent to me by his campaign, that he will in fact be quoting from this "Contingencies" article in Daytona, Florida, today.
UPDATE 2: The McCain-Palin campaign says that the Obama/Krugman interpretation of McCain’s comments is wrong, that he was talking about "giving American families greater access to health care and the ability to buy it across state lines – which would be in the same spirit of the updated regulation that allows Americans to do their consumer banking across state lines."
From McCain-Palin campaign senior economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin: "This is absurd. If Barack Obama thinks that today’s financial troubles were caused by policies which allowed Americans to use an ATM anywhere in this country, then it is better that he continue to be silent about solutions to the crisis on Wall Street. That crisis arose from corruption and regulators asleep at the switch. It’s also possible Senator Obama is simply a dishonest politician who will say anything to get himself elected and just isn’t ready to be President."