Nobel prize winning econmist, Princeton professor and NT Times columnist Paul Krugman has a column in the nation’s newspaper of record that actually savages Republicans for their positions on healthcare reform.Â In a word, the Republican plan is…nothing.
From the piece:
It was obvious how things would go as soon as the first Republican speaker, Senator Lamar Alexander, delivered his remarks. He was presumably chosen because heâ€™s folksy and likable and could make his partyâ€™s position sound reasonable. But right off the bat he delivered a whopper, asserting that under the Democratic plan, â€œfor millions of Americans, premiums will go up.â€
Wow. I guess you could say that he wasnâ€™t technically lying, since the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate Democratsâ€™ plan does say that average payments for insurance would go up. But it also makes it clear that this would happen only because people would buy more and better coverage. The â€œprice of a given amount of insurance coverageâ€ would fall, not rise â€” and the actual cost to many Americans would fall sharply thanks to federal aid.
His fib on premiums was quickly followed by a fib on process. Democrats, having already passed a health bill with 60 votes in the Senate, now plan to use a simple majority vote to modify some of the numbers, a process known as reconciliation. Mr. Alexander declared that reconciliation has â€œnever been used for something like this.â€ Well, I donâ€™t know what â€œlike thisâ€ means, but reconciliation has, in fact, been used for previous health reforms â€” and was used to push through both of the Bush tax cuts at a budget cost of $1.8 trillion, twice the bill for health reform.
What really struck me about the meeting, however, was the inability of Republicans to explain how they propose dealing with the issue that, rightly, is at the emotional center of much health care debate: the plight of Americans who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions. In other advanced countries, everyone gets essential care whatever their medical history. But in America, a bout of cancer, an inherited genetic disorder, or even, in some states, having been a victim of domestic violence can make you uninsurable, and thus make adequate health care unaffordable.
In reality, House Republicans donâ€™t have anything to offer to Americans with troubled medical histories. On the contrary, their big idea â€” allowing unrestricted competition across state lines â€” would lead to a race to the bottom. The states with the weakest regulations â€” for example, those that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to victims of domestic violence â€” would set the standards for the nation as a whole. The result would be to afflict the afflicted, to make the lives of Americans with pre-existing conditions even harder.
Donâ€™t take my word for it. Look at the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the House G.O.P. plan. That analysis is discreetly worded, with the budget office declaring somewhat obscurely that while the number of uninsured Americans wouldnâ€™t change much, â€œthe pool of people without health insurance would end up being less healthy, on average, than under current law.â€ But hereâ€™s the translation: While some people would gain insurance, the people losing insurance would be those who need it most. Under the Republican plan, the American health care system would become even more brutal than it is now.”
And there you have it.
Our friends at FactCheck.org provide some balance to the equation too. So pleas read what they have to say.