Some Republicans are claiming that the Trumpcare bill passed by the House of Representatives is about lowering premiums and giving states flexibility. However, the congressman given credit for reviving Trumpcare, Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), admitted that the purpose of the bill is to protect the profits of insurance companies by shifting the costs of pre-existing conditions onto the taxpayers.
On the May 5th MSNBC show “For the Record with Greta,” MacArthur had this to say [emphasis mine]:
MacArthur: The reason premiums have skyrocketed over the last seven years is because pre-existing conditions are being borne by all the policyholders and millions, 23 million haven’t bought insurance so you have this, you have this less than optimal group paying for all these pre-existing conditions.
Greta: So who will be paying for all the pre-existing conditions?
MacArthur: Well we moved it from the policyholder to the much broader shoulders of the taxpayer, and that will allow everyone’s premiums to drop. That’s what I believe will happen.
(Time of quote: 1:33)
When MacArthur says we are moving the cost from “the policyholder to the much broader shoulders of the taxpayer,” he is admitting that Republicans are changing the system so that the health insurance companies only have to insure healthy people. Once people get sick, insurance companies can shift the responsibility to the government, corporate welfare at its finest!
As a former insurance company CEO, MacArthur knows the way insurance works. Risk is spread among a large group of people. People pay something every period to protect against a larger lost. A small number of people have claims, but the claims (hopefully) are less than than premiums while still allowing the insurance company to make a profit. Any insurance company would be thrilled to have to only cover people who have no claims, and then once they have claims to make somebody else—in this case the government—responsible.
MacArthur’s statement also implies that insurance companies cannot handle people with pre-existing conditions and keep insurance affordable without government intervention. If insurance and medical costs cannot be kept affordable without putting the burden on the “much broader shoulders of the taxpayer,” then the free-market does not work for health care.
MacArthur is not to only House member to argue for moving the sick from the insurance pool. Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) said on the May 5th episode of MTP Daily:
What we’re doing right now with the Affordable Care Act is a hidden cost shift from many people who are healthy and perhaps young within the individual health care marketplace over to people who have more profound health care needs. And all we’re saying is let healthcare be healthcare insurance for people for the preponderance of that marketplace so that it can be priced in a way so that young people are increasingly induced to participate, and for the people who do have the profound health care needs, lets be overt about helping them.
(Time of quote: 1:42)
The Republicans are admitting that the for-profit health insurance system does not work. If insurance companies need government help to keep premiums affordable, then insurance companies serve no purpose except to make health care more expensive. Now it would show compassion if the Republicans were serious about being “overt” to help people with medical needs. Instead they are covert about letting sick people pay higher premiums assuming they can get coverage, causing severe financial and emotional stress, and causing pain, suffering and possibly death all in the name of corporate welfare.
To resolve this charade we should immediately move to a Medicare-for-all health care system. A Medicare-for-all system would cover everybody, eliminate copays and deductibles, allow patients to choose any doctor or hospital, reduce health care costs for almost everybody, and substantially reduce health care costs for the nation.
A Medicare-for-all system is the only system, to use MacArthur and Sanford’s words, that would move costs “to the much broader shoulders of the taxpayer, and that will allow everyone’s premiums to drop.” Medicare-for-all would provide “overt” help to the people who have “profound health care needs.” In short, Medicare-for-all would provide all the benefits that Republicans claim to want, but are repudiating with their proposed deny-care system known as Trumpcare.