Sunday’s New York Times contained a hard-hitting essay by Paul Krugman, “Death by ideology”, blasting Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s plan to deep-six Obamacare and replace Medicare with an ineffectual system of vouchers. It will, in effect, not give health insurance to poor Americans, but ensure that they’ll die for lack of proper preventive care. Krugman pulls no punches:
Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care.
Last week, speaking to The Columbus Dispatch, Mr. Romney declared that nobody in America dies because he or she is uninsured: “We don’t have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don’t have insurance.” This followed on an earlier remark by Mr. Romney — echoing an infamous statement by none other than George W. Bush — in which he insisted that emergency rooms provide essential health care to the uninsured.
These are remarkable statements. They clearly demonstrate that Mr. Romney has no idea what life (and death) are like for those less fortunate than himself.
So let’s be brutally honest here. The Romney-Ryan position on health care is that many millions of Americans must be denied health insurance, and millions more deprived of the security Medicare now provides, in order to save money. At the same time, of course, Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan are proposing trillions of dollars in tax cuts for the wealthy. So a literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.
Let us just admit it: the Republic platform rests on the backs of the poor, and places the well-being of the wealthy above that of “regular” Americans. That’s the kind of stance that ensures the continuing dysfunctionality of American society, and hence the continuing and embarrassing hegemony of religion in our country.
I’d be more exercised if Romney stood a chance of winning, but I’d bet big money that he won’t. I’ve found, however, that here in Europe people think that Romney is actually in a dead heat with Obama. He isn’t. And if Romney wins, I’ll go to a Catholic mass (but only once).
I admire Krugman for speaking the truth.