Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

Santorum: Insurers Should Discriminate Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions

Posted on  

"Santorum: Insurers Should Discriminate Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions"

Share:

google plus icon

Rick Santorum sounded like a representative from the health insurance industry when he addressed a small group of high school students in Merrimack, New Hampshire this morning. The former Pennsylvania senator not only defended insurers for denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, he also argued that individuals who are sick should pay higher premiums because they cost more money to insure:

SANTORUM: I had insurance under my employer. And when I decided to run for president, I left my job, I lost my insurance, I had to go out and buy insurance on the open market. We have a child who has a pre-existing condition and we went out and we said, we like this plan…we have to pay more because she has a pre-existing condition. Well, we should pay more. She’s going to be very expensive to the insurance company and, you know, that cost is passed along to us…I’m okay with that.

Comparing health insurance coverage to auto insurance, Santorum explained that beneficiaries could reduce insurance premiums by paying for services out of pocket, and only rely on their health insurance coverage for the most catastrophic expenses:

SANTORUM: Health insurance, you turn everything in. You turn in every claim, you turn in your oil change, you turn in your tires, you turn in filling up your gas tank, everything is turned in to insurance and then people wonder why, ‘oh my insurance rates are going up?’ Insurance rates shouldn’t pay for your general maintenance any more than they should pay for the general maintenance of your car. [...] Should they pay for the operation, well just as much as they should pay for the car accident.

Watch it:

The Affordable Care Act eliminates the pre-existing condition exclusion by requiring everyone to purchase health insurance coverage, thus greatly reducing the number of so-called free riders, or people who wait before they become ill to purchase health coverage. By creating an incentive for younger and healthier people to purchase coverage, reform expands the risk pool so the costs of the sick people are paid for with the premiums of the healthy. Once they fall ill, their costs will be borne by the next generation of healthy beneficiaries.

As for forcing struggling families to pay the full costs of their health care “maintenance,” that would (at the very least) discourage people from investing in prevention and have a limited impact on reducing health care spending, the overwhelming majority of which is borne by the sickest beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. If anything, costs will likely increase since middle and lower income Americans would forgo care that could prevent the further — more expensive — medical complications.

« »

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.