We'll Be on Fiscal Life Support if Health Bill Dies
This could be the last chance to rein in Medicare costs
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2009 2:13 AM CST
If the health bill fails, it will signal that the "biggest budget problem we face will be successfully played by political opponents as an attack on older Americans," Krugman writes.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Centrist senators worried about the fiscal burden of the health care bill should be asking themselves what will happen if it doesn't pass, writes Paul Krugman. The legislation almost certainly represents the last chance to rein in Medicare costs, the main cause of projected future deficits, before they cause a budget catastrophe, Krugman writes in the New York Times.

The nature of the GOP arguments against it make it even more urgent that the bill be passed, argues Krugman. The Republicans have demonized cost-control efforts and tried to portray reform as an attack on the elderly. If they succeed in derailing the bill, "the demagogues will have won, and we probably won’t deal with our biggest fiscal problem until we’re forced into action by a nasty debt crisis," Krugman concludes.