Paul Krugman: The GOP Is Really This Diseased

News & Politics

The GOP's latest effort at repeal and replace, known as Graham-Cassidy, threatens to kick as many as 32 million people off their health insurance by 2026. That number is only a loose estimate, based on certain provisions in the legislation, because Republicans are holding a vote before the Congressional Budget Office can score the bill—a sharp break with government norms and procedures. The bill has been panned by virtually every major health care group in the country, including the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Planned Parenthood. Yet this sadistic legislation stands an excellent chance of being signed into law, leaving the hopes of future health care reform severely hampered, if not dashed.

For the New York Times' Paul Krugman, both the legislation and its drafting tell you everything you need to know about the Republican Party, and "none of it good."

In his Friday column, he explains that the Affordable Care Act was designed as a three-legged stool, with regulations to protect patients with pre-existing conditions, a mandate that healthy individuals buy into the program and government subisidies to ensure that coverage remains affordable. Graham-Cassidy saws them all right off:

Like other Republican plans, it eliminates the individual mandate. It replaces direct aid to individuals with block grants to states, under a formula that sharply reduces funding relative to current law, and especially penalizes states that have done a good job of reducing the number of uninsured. And it effectively eliminates protection for Americans with pre-existing conditions.

There's no way for the GOP to sell this proposal to the public—an earlier version of the bill had just 12 percent of the country's approval—so Republicans have resorted to their most reliable tactics: prevarication and outright deceit. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), one of the bill's authors, recently circulated a spreadsheet indicating an increase in state funding over the next decade. But as Krugman notes, "Independent analyses find that most states would, in fact, experience serious cuts in federal aid—and everyone would face huge cuts after 2027."

So why are they doing this? What is compelling Republicans to ram Trumpcare down the country's throats when even their constituents are sure to loathe it?

Krugman cites the GOP's hatred of Obama, but believes the answer goes beyond the party's almost pathological desire to erase the legacy of America's first black president. Ultimately, Republican legislators "neither know nor care about policy substance."

"Even if the handful of Republican senators who retain some conscience block it, the underlying sickness of the G.O.P. will remain," he concludes. "It’s sort of a pre-existing condition, and it’s poisoning America."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.

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