Paul Krugman is half right. The New York Times columnist and Princeton University economics professor, winner of the Nobel Prize in 2008, published another strong condemnation Monday of House Republicans "“ this one justifiably calling their Affordable Care Act report "deliberately misleading."
Mainstream politicians didn't always try to advance their agenda through lies, damned lies and — in this case — bogus statistics. And the fact that this has become standard operating procedure for a major party bodes ill for America's future
At issue is a House Republican survey that concluded only 67 percent of HealthCare.gov enrollees had paid their first premium, raising questions about the relevance of White House reports that more than 8 million Americans obtained health insurance through Obamacare. Krugman accurately called the GOP survey "rigged."
It asked insurers how many enrollees had paid their first premium; it ignored the fact that the first premium wasn't even due for the millions of people who signed up for insurance after March 15.
And the fact that the survey was so transparently rigged is a smoking gun, proving that the attacks on Obamacare aren't just bogus; they're deliberately bogus. The staffers who set up that survey knew enough about the numbers to skew them, which meant that they have to have known that Obamacare is actually doing O.K.
But the columnist undermines his argument by leaving out important context: His friends at the White House skew the truth, too.
The GOP would have no excuse to release a biased survey had the White House bothered to conduct one of its own. Instead, the Obama administration has insisted beyond the limits of plausibility that it cannot obtain paid-policy numbers from insurance companies. They must think we're pretty stupid. You don't have to be a Nobel Prize winner to know that the White House can call insurance companies as easily as congressional staff. This lack of transparency (from what President Obama promised would be the most transparent administration in U.S. history) undercuts the administration's "8-million-enrolled" victory lap.