Krugman nails Republicans on Healthcare Reform

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.  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 he’s folksy and likable and could make his party’s position sound reasonable. But right off the bat he delivered a whopper, asserting that under the Democratic plan, “for millions of Americans, premiums will go up.”

Wow. I guess you could say that he wasn’t technically lying, since the Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate Democrats’ 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 “price of a given amount of insurance coverage” would fall, not rise — 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 “never been used for something like this.” Well, I don’t know what “like this” means, but reconciliation has, in fact, been used for previous health reforms — 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 don’t have anything to offer to Americans with troubled medical histories. On the contrary, their big idea — allowing unrestricted competition across state lines — would lead to a race to the bottom. The states with the weakest regulations — for example, those that allow insurance companies to deny coverage to victims of domestic violence — 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.

Don’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 wouldn’t change much, “the pool of people without health insurance would end up being less healthy, on average, than under current law.” But here’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.

  1 comment for “Krugman nails Republicans on Healthcare Reform

  1. Jo
    March 3, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/268/5/case.html

    U.S. Supreme Court
    Linder v. United States, 268 U.S. 5 (1925)
    Linder v. United States
    No. 183
    Submitted March 9, 1925
    Decided April 13, 1925
    268 U.S. 5

    CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS
    FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT
    Syllabus

    1. Any provision of an act of Congress ostensibly enacted under power granted by the Constitution, not naturally and reasonably adapted to the effective exercise of such power but solely to the achievement of something plainly within the power reserved to the states, is invalid and cannot be enforced. P. 268 U. S. 17.

    2. Direct control of medical practice in the states is obviously beyond the power of Congress. P. 268 U. S. 18.

    3. Incidental regulation of such practice by Congress through a taxing act, like the Narcotic Law, cannot extend to matters plainly inappropriate and unnecessary to reasonable enforcement of a revenue measure. P. 268 U. S. 18.

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