Saturday, January 14, 2012

Paul Krugman Links to the Best Commentary on Mitt Romney and Health Insurance

Why Can’t All of Us Be This Eloquent?

The continuing controversy over comments by Mitt Romney that he enjoys being able to fire people who provides him with services has culminated in a commentary by David Atkins, linked by Paul Krugman.  Mr. Krugman admits that Mr. Atkins speaks more eloquently than he, Mr. Krugman, does and that means he speaks far more eloquently than the rest of us. 

In fact, we’re not sure who David Atkins is, but given what he says here it seems like someone everyone ought to meet.

The key part of what’s off-putting about the gaffe isn’t the first part about liking to fire people, so much as the second part about “who provide services to me.” Liking to fire people is bad enough, but this is the real kicker.

When it comes to basic services like healthcare, almost no one in America sees the relationship that way. Most of us wouldn’t speak of “firing” our health insurance company. No matter how much we might detest our insurance company, we probably wouldn’t describe the experience of removing ourselves from their rolls an enjoyable one.

That does capture part of the essence of what Mitt is saying, that he enjoys the “firing” aspect.  But there’s more, Mr. Atkins goes to the heart of the health insurance issue

If the company decides to restrict our coverage or tell us we have a pre-existing condition after all, we’re in the position of begging a capricious and heartless corporation to cover costs we assumed we were entitled to based on a contractual obligation. It’s precisely when we need insurance most that we’re least able to “fire” the insurance company.

and is able to summarize Mr. Romney in the most appropriate manner

Romney talks about paying for health insurance as if it were the same as getting a pedicure, hiring an escort or getting the fancy wax at a car wash. It’s a luxury service being provided to him, and he doesn’t like it, he can take his business elsewhere. Romney’s is the language of a man who has never wanted for anything, never worried about where his next paycheck would come from, never worried about going bankrupt if he got sick.

It is the language of an entitled empowerment utterly alien to the experience of most Americans.

So there it is, the accurate description of the person most likely to be President of the United States in 2013.  

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