Rep. Tom McClintock made an appearance on MTP Daily today to discuss his raucous town hall last weekend and health care policy in general. If what he is selling is what Republicans are planning to try and replace the ACA with, he's deluding himself.
During this amazing interview, McClintock dismissed the issue of pre-existing conditions as "nuisance conditions." As if cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions which will cause Americans to lose their access to health care is just a nuisance.
"What we have to understand the problem of preexisting conditions, this was brought home to me years ago," McClintock said. "A fellow left his job, therefore lost his employer health plan went into the private sector to find one, couldn't because he had a preexisting condition."
He continued, "He says i don't care about that, that's a nuisance, write me a plan that covers everything else and I'll take care of it myself. we'd love to write you such a plan, but we can't, it's against the law."
Here's the solution, according to McClintock. "You know, if you allow the freedom so that people can exempt their nuisances and separate those out from the things that could bankrupt or kill them, now you've reduced that pool to a manageable level and then the same kind of assigned risk pools we currently use for example for auto insurance could be used for that purpose."
Clearly Tom McClintock does not understand what pre-existing conditions are and how they're treated. OR, he does understand and is just using a lot of words to tell people with them to die, and die quickly.
Chuck Todd did follow up, however.
"How do you not punish the person that has the preexisting condition in a high-risk pool? Why punish them with a higher insurance rate just because of their DNA?," he asked.
Here, we get to the heart of the matter.
"Well, insurance covers risk, it doesn't cover certainty," he explained. "Why is it that a health plan can only charge you 1% of the cost of serioious illness? it's because you only have a 1% chance of contracting that illness. if you're at 100%, that's not risk, that's certainty. The assigned risk pools spread that burden across the consumer base, they're very successful in assuring that those who are otherwise can't get insurance, for example, for automobiles still have access to that market."
Here is where McClintock exposes the Republican belief that health care is not for everybody. Because unlike car insurance, health conditions are a certainty. Everyone will deal with something in their lifetime, whether it's a bout of the flu, an accident, diabetes, or a cancer diagnosis. Everyone dies of something. The only question is when. So unlike car insurance, where drivers may go their entire lives without ever filing a claim on it, health care is a certainty.
Chuck Todd once again tried to get that across, when he pointedly asked McClintock why they would punish people for conditions completely out of their control, which is quite different from being a bad driver.
And once again, McClintock glided right over the answer. "What i'm saying is the assigned risk pool can spread that cost, that risk, across very wide base to assure that those who do have serious preexisting conditions can obtain the insurance that they need."
Note to McClintock: That's what the ACA does now. It spreads the risk for those with pre-existing conditions across a wide base of people without those conditions, to lower the cost.
Todd pressed on. "But you wouldn't have those risk pools include healthy people? Include people without preexisting conditions?"
Same answer...which is the ACA.
So Chuck tried again, by specifically naming high risk pools. "Okay. so -- but -- there has been some talk that no, you put people with preexisting conditions in a high risk pool system, separating them out from the general population. you're not suggesting that?"
And once again, McClintock ducked the question by referring to pre-existing conditions as "nuisances."
"What it does is -- then give them the broad subsidies that they need to be assured that their health insurance is still within their financial reach. and again, you boil that problem down, first in my view by assuring that those who have nuisances like that can still get insurance and aren't being blocked because of that nuisance affliction. If you're over 45 as i am, long way over 45, everybody's got some preexisting condition."
I'd just like to tell Rep. McClintock that my 20-something son with diabetes does NOT have a "nuisance condition." When managed properly with insulin and the monitoring he needs, he has a full life. If he cannot get that, then it's not a nuisance. It's death, just like it is for cancer survivors, AIDS/HIV patients, and patients suffering from myriad conditions that fall into the pre-existing conditions bucket.
On the one hand, McClintock seems to be describing what we already have -- the ACA. And on the other, he seems to be inclined to drop millions of Americans into a "nuisance bucket," where they can get some kind of tax credit to NOT be able to afford their health insurance.
Medicare for All is the right answer to all of Chuck Todd's questions, but these Republicans won't consider it because they're selfish pigs who think health care is for the deserving few, not everyone.