I agree with Krugman's general thesis - McCain's health care plan is a joke, and Clinton's is better than Obama's. I'm not sure, though, about this point:
Worse yet, Mr. Obama attacked his Democratic rivals’ health plans using conservative talking points about choice and the evil of having the government tell you what to do. That’s going to make it hard - if he is the nominee - to refute Mr. McCain when he makes similar arguments on behalf of such things as privatizing veterans’ care.One criticism of Obama, and a valid one, is that he refuses to support mandates. I haven't yet seen evidence to suggest the innuendo sometimes cast about, that he's adamantly opposed to mandates. If Congress sends him a bill that does everything he has proposed but also includes mandates, I expect that he would sign it.
As for whether Obama would hold hands with McCain in an effort to savage the V.A. hospital system, I very much doubt it. Whatever mileage the Republicans might try to gain from Obama's talk of freedoms, privatizing veterans' care is one of those issues that you should be able to undercut with a standard, Republican-style, "Our troops are getting injured right now, and those hospitals are the best source for the specialized care they need after leaving the military! Why don't you support the troops?"
Talk of "choice", really, is to reassure people that if a national health plan passes the government won't be picking their doctor or defining their medical treatment. (That job will remain with a bureaucrat in their HMO.)