2018 MIDTERM ELECTION

Time: D H M S

SHOCKER: Trump Policy Advisor Has Absolutely No Clue How Insurance Works

Thanks to Kevin Wright (via Twitter) for calling the latest bit of idiocy from the Donald Trump campaign to my attention:

What Would Happen if Donald Trump’s Healthcare Plan Was Implemented?

Imagine this scenario next year.

In January, President Donald J. Trump asks Congress on his first day in office to repeal Obamacare.

The House and Senate oblige and eight months later on Oct. 1 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) goes out of business.

In its place, the seven-point healthcare plan listed on the Trump campaign website is implemented.

...“It will make the healthcare industry more affordable and more accessible,” Sam Clovis, the national co-chairman and a policy advisor for the Trump campaign, told Healthline.

However, five experts interviewed by Healthline don’t see quite as rosy a picture.

...“Not everybody needs to have health insurance,” said Clovis. “Healthy people having to pay the insurance costs of unhealthy people is a nonstarter.”

Clovis said, however, a Trump administration would consider keeping the portion of the law that allows children under the age of 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance.

He said they would also consider keeping the provision that prohibits insurance companies from rejecting applicants simply because they have pre-existing conditions.

The experts have a number of problems with this scenario.

I'm not gonna go into the rest of the article, which tears apart Trump's "plan" like so many potato chips. I'm just gonna focus on the highlighted sentence above.

“Healthy people having to pay the insurance costs of unhealthy people is a nonstarter.”

Read this again, as slowly and carefully as you need to. Savor it. Digest it. Study the black-is-white, up-is-down, freedom-is-slavery illogic in all its glory.

I think I need to have a little chat with Sam. I'll call him "Sammy" instead, since he clearly has the mind of a child. A very young child indeed, since my 10-year old son understands the concept of how insurance works better than Mr. Clovis.

You see, Sammy, the entire point of insurance--whether health insurance, auto insurance or otherwise--is to pool funds from a whole bunch of people (most of whom don't make claims on their policy at any given moment) together to help cover the costs when any one of those people do have to make a claim on their policy.

If healthy people (ie, those not making claims on their insurance most of the time) didn't chip in to pay their premiums, there wouldn't be any money in the pool for those who did need to make claims. In other words, the insurance industry itself would utterly collapse.

This has nothing to do with Obamacare. This has to do with the very concept of "insurance" itself: You pay a certain amount of money every month when you don't have expenses related to that insurance so that a larger sum of money will be available to you when you do need it.

If you're healthy your entire life and never make a claim on your insurance policy mazel tov! Consider yourself lucky! It's true, you would have paid a bunch of money in premiums over many years without taking anything back out, but the flip side is that you also never got sick or injured a day in your life.

Of course, very few people actually accomplish that particular scenario. Sooner or later, pretty much everyone will get sick or injured, at which point they'll likely rack up a bunch of medical expenses which they can't personally afford at that particular moment...which is exactly why, yes, everyone (other than the ultra-rich, I suppose...like, say, Donald Trump) should have health insurance.

The issues of what particular treatments, services or medications should be covered by that insurance, and how much it should cost are entirely separate from the question of whether you should have it in the first place. Yes, you should.

Oh, and for any single payer advocates who start screaming about how people need "health CARE, not health INSURANCE", what the hell do you think single payer healthcare IS? It's the same concept; the main difference is that instead of, say, 100,000 people chipping into the pool by paying premiums to Aetna (and them getting a cut of the funds), you'd have 320 million people chipping into the national pool by paying more in taxes to the government.

It's a much larger pool, and the premiums (taxes) are going to the government instead of a private company, but it amounts to the same thing (and in many cases, the money still goes to a private insurer after all, via managed Medicaid and Medicare Advantage programs). I'm a SP advocate myself, and there are numerous other advantages such as economy of scale and so forth, but at it's heart, taxes paying for universal healthcare still amount to the same thing as insurnace premiums paying for private coverage.

But when a "policy advisor" for the Trump campaign can't even grasp the most rudimentary concept of what insurance is, there's no point in even continuing the discussion.

In fact, this reminds me an awful lot of actor Craig T. Nelson's moment of brilliance on the Glenn Beck show a number of years ago: