Fox's Brit Hume pretends he doesn't know how insurance works, while inadvertently making the case for the individual insurance mandates that Republicans claim they hate so much: Fox’s Brit Hume: Obamacare’s “coverage for pre-existing conditions…basically defeats the whole idea of insurance”:
BRIT HUME: And remember this, Chris. The triumph of Obamacare is this coverage for pre-existing conditions, which basically defeats the whole idea of insurance. Which is, for example, in the automobile insurance market, if you could wait until you had a wreck and then buy insurance and have the repairs covered, that's comparable to what we're doing here.
DR. EZEKIEL EMANUEL: But Brit, if I have cancer --
HUME: Hold on, let me finish. Can I please finish? The idea of insurance is that you purchase it to guard against risks and things that may occur in the future. It's not that you purchase the coverage after you are already sick. Once that idea is gone, Obamacare essential remains.
CHRIS WALLACE (HOST): You've got 20 seconds.
DR. EMANUEL: If I have cancer through no fault of my own, I didn't hit a car, I need to have insurance to cover me. This bill does nothing for those people. it only makes the price of their insurance ever higher. Cancer patients and patients with multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease get completely written out of coverage by this bill.
This was in response to some viewer mail read by Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace comparing health insurance to auto insurance. Kevin Drum explained exactly what's wrong with that argument back in 2013: No, Pre-Existing Conditions Are Not Like Car Wrecks:
One of the most maddening aspects of the debate over Obamacare isn’t simply the fact that conservatives dislike it, but the fact that they seem unable even to understand what the point is. Via Ed Kilgore, here is Georgia state insurance commissioner Ralph Hudgens—surely a guy who should understand what insurance is and how it works—comparing pre-existing condition requirements to having a car wreck:
Well, sure, it’s the exact same thing except for the fact that it has nothing in common whatsoever. In fact, this is basically a defense of the individual mandate, though Hudgens doesn’t seem to understand that either.
People with pre-existing conditions aren’t folks trying to scam the system. They’re just people who got sick. And Republicans simply have no realistic plan for allowing them access to affordable health care. This is a problem for the GOP, because unlike the $100-a-plate crowd that tittered at Hudgens’ story, most people understand that pre-existing conditions can happen to anyone. That’s why Obamacare’s requirement for community rating—i.e., for insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions at the same price as anyone else—is so popular. What most people don’t quite understand is that this is what produces the rest of Obamacare, too. If insurance companies have to cover people with pre-existing conditions, they’ll go out of business unless they cover everyone else, too.
That way the entire insurance pool covers the small number who get seriously sick in any given year. So you have to have an individual mandate. But lots of people can’t afford insurance. So if you have an individual mandate, you have to have subsidies for low-income workers. And with that, you have community rating, the individual mandate, and subsidies. And that’s about 90 percent of what Obamacare is.
It’s one thing to oppose Obamacare. But Republicans have no realistic alternative. They can blather away about tort reform and HSAs forever, but even low-information voters dimly understand that it’s just blather. Either you’re going to cover sick people or you aren’t. And if you do, you’re going to end up with something that has most of the same features of Obamacare.
I expect Hume knows this as well, but it won't stop him from lying to the rubes who watch Fox and believe it's a reliable "news" source.