Paul Krugman Dismantles Trump's Delusional Healthcare Plans

While deciding what to rail about in his Friday column, Paul Krugman took some swipes at F.B.I. director James Comey, again, and at Trump's multifarious ethical disasters. "On the other hand, he’s also dangerously delusional about policy," Krugman suggests, before landing on his main topic, the President-elect's simplistic notions about healthcare. This week featured Trump's crazy assertions about repealing and replacing Obamacare, "possibly on the same day," with something supposedly “far less expensive and far better.” It just doesn't work like that. If it did, the G.O.P. would have come up with this magical plan long ago. 

In order to repeal Obamacare, however, Republicans have spent years propagating lies about it. "A prime example is the pretense that health reform hasn’t helped anyone," Krugman writes. "'Things are only getting worse under Obamacare,” declared Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House, last week. Yet the reality is that there has been a dramatic reduction in the number of Americans without insurance since reform went into effect — and an overwhelming majority of those covered by the new health exchanges are satisfied with their coverage."

One wonders how Ryan and his gang have been able to convince people of this lie. Krugman suggests that part of the answer is that some of the newly insured do not realize either that their coverage is through Obamacare, or that they will lose it when it's repealed.  "But that will change if repeal proceeds," he says. "For example, the percentage of nonelderly white adults without insurance fell by almost half from 2010 to 2016, from 16.4 to 8.7, a gain surely concentrated in the Trump-supporting white working class. Repeal would send that number right back up, and there would be no hiding the damage.

The newly insured will suddenly be faced with soaring medical bills, rather than increased premiums. The Republicans and Trump have nada to offer to solve this oncoming trainwreck, except to the very wealthy. Krugman:

Republicans don’t have a health care plan, but they do have a philosophy — and it’s all about less. Less regulation, so that insurers can turn you down if you have a pre-existing condition. Less government support, so if you can’t afford coverage, too bad. And less coverage in general: Republican ideas about cost control are all about “skin in the game,” requiring people to pay more out of pocket (which somehow doesn’t stop them from complaining about high deductibles).

Implementing this philosophy would deliver a big windfall to the wealthy, who would get a huge tax cut from Obamacare repeal, and it would mean lower premiums for a relatively small number of currently healthy individuals — especially if they’re rich enough that they don’t need to worry about high deductibles.

When the whole healthcare debacle becomes evident, Republicans will cynically find a way to blame Democrats. Trump will simply move on to his next area of utter incompetence.


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