Top Conservative Lays Out Obamacare Alternative: Insurers Should Just Charge Really Sick People More


The leader of a top conservative advocacy organization believes that people who are born with congenital illnesses should pay more for health care coverage and rely on family and friends if they can’t afford their medical bills.

Appearing on SiriusXM’s Stand Up with Pete Dominick on Thursday, Dean Clancy — VP of Public Policy at FreedomWorks — insisted that insurers should charge sicker people higher rates so that younger and healthier beneficiaries don’t have to subsidize their coverage.

Clancy made the remarks in response to a listener who claimed that the Affordable Care Act had lowered health care premiums in New York. In the heated exchange that followed, he also predicted that the law’s individual mandate would turn everyone into “a slave”:


DOMINICK: So you think it’s okay if someone is born with a congenital illness, they should have to pay more?

CLANCY: Yea, because that’s the only way the market can work. […]

DOMINICK: Do you not think Dean, it’s inhuman or immoral to say that someone who was born with some kind of congenital issue should have to pay more? I mean, how is that their fault, how does that profess anything that you believe in terms of personal responsibility in terms of fairness …

CLANCY: I didn’t say it was their fault … Yes, but guess what that person probably has loved ones, family, church, a neighborhood….Isn’t it weird we used to live in a world where people actually helped people that had misfortune? Now you think we got to mandate that everyone be a slave so that we don’t have to think about that anymore? ….

DOMINICK: You really believe that if someone is born sick, they should have to rely on their friends and families?

CLANCY: Yes of course.


Clancy’s philosophy seems far fetched and extreme, but it has been readily echoed by Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and other Republican lawmakers. In 2006, however, Mitt Romney made the opposite case, arguing that conservatives must encourage everyone to take personal responsibility for their own health care spending by purchasing insurance policies, so as to prevent individuals from passing on the cost of coverage to government or people with private coverage. Since Massachusetts enacted universal health care reform, which includes an individual mandate to purchase coverage, the state boasts 439,000 newly insured residents and the highest rate of insurance in the country.