If anyone needed a clearer understanding of how the Republican Party regards humans and health care, let Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) be their example.
During an interview with host Chuck Todd on NBC’s "Meet the Press" Sunday morning, Johnson revealed that he thought the Senate’s revisions to the American Health Care Act have made the bill too liberal and filled the public in on why exactly providing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions is a bad thing.
The Senate health care bill leaves in coverage for individuals suffering from pre-existing conditions like cancer, heart conditions, polio, and other chronic illnesses. While the legislation remains largely a health care farce, this allowance comes as a relief to millions, but not to Johnson.
“Those are the forgotten men and women in this entire healthcare debate, but we know why those premiums doubled,” he explained to Todd. “We’ve done something with our healthcare system that you never even think about doing, for example, with auto insurance, where you’d require auto insurance companies to sell a policy to somebody after they crashed their car. States that have enacted guaranteed issue, which is the guarantee for pre-existing conditions, it crashes their markets. It causes these markets to collapse, it causes premiums to skyrocket.”
Essentially, Johnson is comparing people with pre-existing conditions to car crashes, most specifically bad drivers. That's an insane analogy given that not all health conditions, particularly pre-existing ones, are avoidable. According to Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94 percent of car crashes are due to human error. Comparing a baby born with a heart condition to a negligent driver in the health insurance pool is exactly as nonsensical as it sounds.
Not only does Johnson seek to deny health care for those grappling with illnesses they cannot help, he also advocates a program that has been proven ineffective. He'd like to see people with pre-existing conditions placed into "high-risk pools" that are basically insurance programs for those who could not otherwise be insured. It's a decent theory, but it just doesn't work in practice as it can lead to extended wait times for ill individuals and places the burden of health care onto taxpayers instead of insurance companies. So, given that high risk pools ultimately help insurance companies at the expense of American citizens, it does make sense that Republicans advocate for the concept.
“A truly moral and compassionate society does not impoverish future generations to bestow benefits in the here and now,” Johnson wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times on Monday in which he reiterated his point about pre-existing conditions.
Bold words coming from a known climate change denier who once made a case for disregarding recommended precautions against global warming because historically "civilization thrives" in warmer climates.
Like many in the GOP Party, Johnson's excuses seem a lot more like a cover for funneling profit to their wealthy corporate friends instead of pushing for a better future. We're still waiting for some sign of humanity from this administration, but at this rate, we'll soon be living in a world where good health is a privilege, like nearly everything else on the Republican agenda.