Princeton economist Paul Krugman, writing in today's New York Times, says Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) health care proposal has "a lot to commend" but "not as comprehensive as [he] would have liked:"
You can’t be serious about health care without proposing an injection of federal funds to help lower-income families pay for insurance, and that means advocating some kind of tax increase. Well, Mr. Obama is now on record calling for a partial rollback of the Bush tax cuts.
Also, in the Obama plan, insurance companies won’t be allowed to deny people coverage or charge them higher premiums based on their medical history. Again, points for toughness.
Best of all, the Obama plan contains the same feature that makes the Edwards plan superior to, say, the Schwarzenegger proposal in California: it lets people choose between private plans and buying into a Medicare-type plan offered by the government.
Now for the bad news. Although Mr. Obama says he has a plan for universal health care, he actually doesn’t — a point Mr. Edwards made in last night’s debate. The Obama plan doesn’t mandate insurance for adults. So some people would take their chances — and then end up receiving treatment at other people’s expense when they ended up in emergency rooms. In that regard it’s actually weaker than the Schwarzenegger plan.