By way of Charles Dickens and the Marx Brothers, Paul Krugman offers a near-future version of A Christmas Carol, set in the U.S. after current health care legislation takes effect--Tiny Tim's bleak 2009 fate with a pre-existing condition and expensive health insurance (not through Scrooge, of course) is changed by the Senate of Health Care Past: "But reform legislation enacted in 2010 banned insurance discrimination on the basis of medical history and also created a system of subsidies to help families pay for coverage. Even so, insurance doesn’t come cheap — but the Cratchits do have it, and they’re grateful. God bless us, everyone."
While Krugman sees merit in progressives who grieve for the bill's insufficiencies (but says this was the best that could get enacted), he scorns opposition from the "Bah, Humbug" fiscal conservatives who ignored the CBO's evidence that the bill is fiscally conservative, and especially "the crazy right, the tea party and death panel people — a lunatic fringe that is no longer a fringe but has moved into the heart of the Republican Party. In the past, there was a general understanding, a sort of implicit clause in the rules of American politics, that major parties would at least pretend to distance themselves from irrational extremists. But those rules are no longer operative. No, Virginia, at this point there is no sanity clause."
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