Here We Go again – Republicans Do Not Understand Insurance

Yesterday, as DD pointed out in today’s open thread, we learned that wonky, Republican genius, Paul Ryan doesn’t understand how insurance works. Now the GOP trots out an oldie but a goodie: “Why should men pay for prenatal coverage?”

“What mandate in the Obamacare bill does he take issue with?” Doyle asked Shimkus, using the formal parlance of congressional committees.


“What about men having to purchase prenatal care?” Shimkus said.


At that point, one could hear the room start to stir.


“I’m just . . . is that not correct?” Shimkus said. “And should they?”

Do Republicans understand it takes two to make a baby? Talk about abdicating parental responsibility.

I’ll let insurance expert and columnist Nancy Metcalf explain. She answered this exact question from a middle age man:

Health insurance, like all insurance, works by pooling risks. The healthy subsidize the sick, who could be somebody else this year and you next year. Those risks include any kind of health care a person might need from birth to death — prenatal care through hospice. No individual is likely to need all of it, but we will all need some of it eventually.

So, as a middle-aged childless man you resent having to pay for maternity care or kids’ dental care. Shouldn’t turnabout be fair play? Shouldn’t pregnant women and kids be able to say, “Fine, but in that case why should we have to pay for your Viagra, or prostate cancer tests, or the heart attack and high blood pressure you are many times more likely to suffer from than we are?” Once you start down that road, it’s hard to know where to stop. If you slice and dice risks, eventually you don’t have a risk pool at all, and the whole idea of insurance falls apart….


Also, presumably at some point you, yourself, were born. Would it have been ok for your mother not to have insurance for childbirth, which can cost as much as $30,000 for an uncomplicated delivery? The U.S. already has the highest infant mortality rate of any rich industrial democracy. Do you think it’s good for society for some families not to have access to proper prenatal care? The babies thus born are going to be paying for your Social Security one day, remember.

Maybe they’d be okay with covering prenancy if the fetus is a boy?

What really jumps out in this discussion is how these men never suggest insurance not cover/carve out their illnesses/conditions. It’s always about pregnancy, birth control and abortion. None of which they want insurance to cover. Think about that. The “Pro-Life” group is all about getting women pregnant, but then goes all dead-beat dad once the child is born. This is one of the best examples of how women are damned if they do, damned if they don’t. No insurance coverage for all their reproductive rights means, “You’re pregnant!” but “Oops! You’ll have to pay more for insurance to cover your condition. What about the men? Oh, we’ll be over here passing out cigars.”

It’s absolutely amazing how little Republicans understand about insurance. Then again, they aren’t in it to win a “beauty contest”.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) admitted Friday that the Congressional Budget Office will likely estimate that millions of people would lose health insurance under the GOP’s proposed health care bill.


But he said that the the bill wasn’t meant to address the “beauty contest” of increasing coverage.


“We always know, you’re never going to win a coverage beauty contest when it’s free market versus government mandates,” Ryan told radio host Hugh Hewitt, after Hewitt floated the possibility that the CBO would estimate 15 million people will lose health insurance because of the American Health Care Act.

Let me drop this here one more time: Trump promised that the GOP plan would cover more people for less money.

“If the government says, ‘Thou shall buy our health insurance,’ the government estimates are going to say people will comply and it will happen. And when you replace that with, ‘We’re going to have a free market and you buy what you want to buy,’ they’re going to say not nearly as many people are going to do that,” Ryan continued. “That’s just going to happen. And so you’ll have those coverage estimates. We assume that’s going to happen. That’s not our goal. Our goal is not to show a pretty piece of paper that says, ‘We’re mandating great things for Americans.’


“We’re not going to get into a bidding war with the left about how much we can mandate, or put entitlements out there for people,” he said later.

Ryan acts like those losing their insurance are choosing to opt out, rather than being priced out. And the bidding war he’s referring to isn’t about mandating, it’s about who has health insurance. To pretend that the millions of people about to lose their health insurance are people who don’t want health insurance is a lie that will be loudly exposed if this train wreck of a bill passes.

This tactic (of pretending people aren’t saying what they’re actually saying) has become SOP for the GOP. It’s exactly why they dismiss protesters as being paid.

My biggest fear, in all this, is that the only way we’ll learn is if this Republican bill passes. So many people will suffer. Lives will be lost. That’s an unacceptable lesson.





4 comments on “Here We Go again – Republicans Do Not Understand Insurance

  1. At the core of all this is the traditional Republican worship of the rich, coupled to their eternal hatred of the poor. As noted the bill is a train wreck aborning, thus far attracting the support of Paul Ryan and little else. But the upside, regardless of the seemingly inevitable damage and pain, is that Trump will now own this bill, shortly to be called Trumpcare for now and evermore.

    • After I wrote this I wondered… Ryan has to understand how insurance works, right? He just acted stupid for his stupid supporters – who don’t know how insurance works?

      • They know how it works, they just don’t care. Goal one remains tax cuts for their owners and they don’t care who knows it.

  2. speaktruth200

    Republicans no exactly how it works…they support for profit insurance companies, think Tricky Dick Nixon! They could give a damn about the poor, elderly disabled and consider them “useless eaters”.

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