President Trump and a group of almost all white, male politicians celebrated today in the White House Rose Garden the House’s repeal of Obamacare and passage of Trumpcare.
These Republicans were cheering the narrow passage of legislation that most doctors, medical and research groups oppose, because it will result in many millions of Americans losing health care, and higher costs for almost everyone else if they happen to be sick, old, have a pre-existing condition or were born with a handicap.
So what were these conservative and moderate Republicans thinking?
At the end of last December, the Nobel prize-winning columnist Paul Krugman predicted this moment in his op-ed column in the New York Times and why it would happen.
In light of Trump and the GOP gang cheering what seems to be a disaster for 99 percent of Americans, it is worth looking at what this Ph.D. economist, distinguished professor, and author said in his analysis, headlined: “Snatching Health Care Away From Millions.”
“Why do the Republicans hate health reform,” asked Krugman. “Some of the answer is that Obamacare was paid for in part with taxes on the wealthy, who will reap a huge windfall if it’s repealed, even as many middle-income families face tax hikes,”
Krugman made the point that after a rough start, Obamacare was working as 2016 ended. Millions more had coverage, costs were being contained, bankruptcies caused by the cost of health care were down, more people were getting preventive care and fewer people were suffering from chronic issues due to a lack of care.
So why were Republicans so against a plan that was helping so many?
“Obamacare must die precisely because it’s working,” wrote Krugman, “showing that government action really can improve people’s lives — a truth they don’t want anyone to know.”
Now that Trumpcare has passed the House, how will its authors defend it?
They will try to contain the political fallout, said Krugman, as tens of millions lose access to health care.
“No doubt,” wrote Krugman, “they’ll try to distract the public – and the all-too-compliant news media – with shiny objects of various kinds.”
“Surely, a central aspect of their damage control will be an attempt to push a false narrative about Obamacare’s past,” continued Krugman. “Health reform, they’ll claim, was always a failure and it was already collapsing on the eve of the G.O.P. takeover. When the number of uninsured Americans skyrockets on their watch, they’ll claim that it’s not their fault – like everything, it’s the fault of liberal elites.”
Then Krugman said what many Democrats will be saying between now and election day in 2018 when Americans will have their chance to respond at the polls to what’s happened.
“So let’s refute that (Republican) narrative in advance,” continued Krugman. “Obamacare has, in fact, been a big success – imperfect, yes, but it has greatly improved (and saved) many lives. And all indications are that this success is sustainable, that the teething problems of health reform weren’t fatal and were well on their way to being solved at the end of 2016.”
Now, predicted Krugman, it is the time that “blame must be placed where it belongs: on Donald Trump and the people who put him over the top.”
Who should be placing the blame, along with Democrats? People who voted for Trump and who are going to be among the biggest losers, including millions in the white working class who have been his biggest supporters.
“At least some of those Trump supporters would probably conclude,” predicted Krugman, “that they were the victims of a political scam – which they were.”
Let us hope that these voters will not be distracted by the “shiny objects,” lies and falsehoods the Republican politicians will pump out on the stump and that America will be re-claimed by its people before the disaster that is Trump does even more damage.