GOP Rep: Protecting Insurers More Important Than Providing Coverage To The Sick

Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)

Rep. Jeff Flake (R), a sixth-term GOP congressman and current Arizona senate candidate, has confirmed he is not among the 82 percent of Americans who think insurance companies should be banned from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

In fact, during a recent debate on an Arizona NBC affiliate, Flake explained that doing so would end the industry as we know it:

If individuals are allowed to access health care services only when they are sick or injured, there is no reason for anyone to have insurance. If insurance companies are required to accept all pre-existing conditions, insurance is no longer insurance.

Since the Affordable Care Act requires everyone to purchase coverage and prevents people from gaming the system by buying insurance only when they fall ill, insurers can (and have themselves proposed) providing coverage to everyone who applies. As many as 129 million Americans currently suffer from pre-existing health conditions.

Flake is not alone in arguing that insurers can’t help but deny coverage to those who need it. Recently Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) told ThinkProgress that businesses should be allowed to deny health insurance to cancer patients, echoing earlier sentiments from Indiana senate candidate Richard Murdock. GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum made the same argument while hoping to defeat Mitt Romney in the primary.

Steven Perlberg