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Krugman: Don’t Let Russia Distract Us When Health Care For Millions Is At Risk

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Krugman: Don’t Let Russia Distract Us When Health Care For Millions Is At Risk

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Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

In 2017, many Americans start their day by calling their senators and begging them not to take away their health care. Others show up at government offices or to protests on the street. It’s stressful and occasionally demeaning, but as Paul Krugman reminds us in his Monday column, we can’t stop now. The Republican attempt to repeal Obamacare is alive and well, and the GOP could use media appetite for Russian collusion (and a constitutional crisis) as cover to destroy health care.

If this sounds outlandish, consider what happened in the House in March. As Krugman writes, the House bill “seemed dead after the Congressional Budget Office released a devastating assessment, concluding that the House Republican bill would lead to 23 million more uninsured Americans. Faced with intense media scrutiny and an outpouring of public opposition, House leaders pulled their bill, and the debate seemed over.”

It wasn’t. Activist and media attention moved on to the next outrage of the week, and, “with the spotlight off, House leaders bullied and bribed enough holdouts to narrowly pass a bill after all.” It could happen again. The news is filled with palace intrigue stories of staff shakeups, and of Trump mulling presidential pardons and how to rid himself of special counsel Robert Mueller.

Krugman doesn’t blame Americans for being pulled in.

“After all,” he writes, “there is growing evidence that members of the Trump inner circle did indeed collude with Russia during the election; meanwhile, Trump’s statements and tweets strongly suggest that he’s willing both to abuse his pardon power and to fire Robert Mueller, provoking a constitutional crisis, rather than allow investigation into this scandal to proceed.”

Still, none of these scandals show any signs of slowing the health care bill down. Just this weekend, Trump used a speech at a military ceremony to call on audience members to pressure their senators to pass the bill. Making matters worse, Krugman points out, GOP leaders are attacking the non-partisan CBO and their lies may be working:

At this point the more or less official G.O.P. line is that the budget office — whose director, by the way, was picked by the Republicans themselves — can’t be trusted. (This attack provoked an open letter of protest signed by every former C.B.O. director, Republicans and Democrats alike.) In particular, the claim is that its prediction of huge losses in coverage is outlandish, and that to the extent that fewer people would be covered, it would be due to their voluntary choices.

Unfortunately, the predictions of 22 million losing coverage is entirely possible, especially given the Senate bill’s sharp cuts to Medicaid (26 percent by 2026). The prognosis for those on private insurance isn’t much better. With drastically cut subsidies, deductibles will rise just as much. If, Krugman wonders, a person making $26,000 a year has a $13,000 deductible (up from $800 under Obamacare), “would deciding not to buy that useless insurance really be a ‘choice’?”

Better that we never have to find out. Instead, Krugman ends with a call to action: “we need to keep reminding wavering senators and their constituents of that fact, lest they be snowed by a blizzard of lies… while ordinary citizens can’t yet do much about the looming constitutional crisis, their calls, letters and protests can still make all the difference on health care. Don’t let the bad guys in the Senate do terrible things because you weren’t paying attention!”

Read the entire column.

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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12 Comments

  1. Josephinejnakamura July 25, 2017

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    Reply
  2. old_blu July 25, 2017

    Trump himself has shown little interest in the proceedings beyond admonishing the Democrats, Republicans, Secretary Clinton, or President Obama for him not getting anything done, too busy tweeting about the Trump-Russia investigation in between rounds of golf to care about the details of congressional negotiations on healthcare.

    Reply
    1. Kellymyoung July 26, 2017

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pa308d:
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      Reply
    2. Erinjarmstrong July 27, 2017

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !pa306:
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      Reply
  3. Phil Christensen July 25, 2017

    The commissars are not interested in facilitating health care to all. If they were, then health insurance premiums would be a tax credit.

    Reply
    1. OK thanks for explaining your dumb thoughts, traitor.

      Reply
  4. RichFromShowMe July 25, 2017

    Krugman . . . . caught red-handed using bogus numbers, for the 10,000th time, but that’s his standard operating procedures . . . . and he’s supposed to be an Economist 🙂

    https://www.healthinsurance.org/faqs/i-earn-just-22000-a-year-how-can-i-afford-the-out-of-pocket-costs-of-health-insurance/

    Reply
    1. Yeah I’ll take “moronic bullcrap from treason-supporting cowards” for 100, Alex

      Reply
      1. RichFromShowMe July 26, 2017

        My mistake . . . . I assumed you could read, but must have been wrong !

        Reply
        1. To save time, I should point out there’s no possible flaw I could posses that would make your dumb lies true.

          I hope that helps!

          Reply
    2. Bill P July 26, 2017

      Your link shows nothing involving Krugman. He is a Nobel prize winning Economist so I will believe his writings on economic issues over your delusional and unfounded rants.

      Reply
      1. RichFromShowMe July 26, 2017

        “If, Krugman wonders, a person making $26,000 a year has a $13,000 deductible (up from $800 under Obamacare), “would deciding not to buy that useless insurance really be a ‘choice’?”

        The reference was to Krugman’s use of $800 under obambacare . . . the more accurate number would be in the vicinity of the number referenced in healthinsurance article; i.e., 7 to 8 thousand dollars.

        Reply

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