News & Politics

Paul Krugman: Calamity Awaits If Americans Don't Snap Out of It, and Fast

We have two weeks to kill Trumpcare, again. Now is no time for complacency.

Photo Credit: YouTube/Bloomberg

While progressive activists and 2020 presidential hopefuls alike were salivating over Bernie Sanders' Medicare for All bill last week, a team of Republicans took the opportunity to craft a last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Meet Graham-Cassidy, which its spinmasters, Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy and Dean Heller, want you to believe is a more moderate piece of health care legislation.

Trumpcare 5.0 is anything but, warns Paul Krugman in his Monday column. If we're not vigilant, it could soon become the law of the land, just as Trump rode a wave of complacency and denial into the White House.

Krugman understands why we think this latest repeal attempt is nothing to worry about. After all, "Republican attempts to destroy Obamacare have repeatedly failed, and for very good reason. Their attacks on the Affordable Care Act were always based on lies, and they have never come up with a decent alternative."

Many pieces of the ACA are extremely popular, including "prohibiting discrimination by insurers based on medical history, requiring that people buy insurance even if they’re currently healthy, premium subsidies and Medicaid expansion."

Every Republican plan under Trump has proposed to do away with these critical components. Americans have responded with letters and phone calls, demonstrations and angry town hall gatherings. "Many Americans were aware of the stakes," he writes, "and that politicians who voted to take health care away from millions would be held accountable." 

But Krugman fears complacency has begun to set in.

"The news cycle has moved on, taking public attention with it," he continues. "Many progressives have already begun taking Obamacare’s achievements for granted, and are moving on from protest against right-wing schemes to dreams of single-payer. Unfortunately, that’s exactly the kind of environment in which swing senators, no longer in the spotlight, might be bribed or bullied into voting for a truly terrible bill." 

Forget about Graham-Cassidy being a kinder, gentler form of repeal. How can it be, Krugman asks, if it still includes "all the elements that made previous Republican proposals so cruel and destructive. It would eliminate the individual mandate, undermine if not effectively eliminate protection for people with pre-existing conditions, and slash funding for subsidies and Medicaid." 

Because of Senate rules, this bill has to pass by September 30 or not at all. We have two weeks to kill the bill.

"Make your voice heard," Krugman admonishes us, "otherwise we may wake up to another terrible morning after." 

Read the entire column

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.