The words “somebody’s going to pay” are rarely comforting ones, and when they’re coming from the Health and Human Services Secretary, and he’s talking about whether health care is going to be affordable for older people under the plan he’s endorsing, they’re even more ominous. But that’s how Tom Price bats away concerns that this bill is really bad for older people.
In an interview with “Fox & Friends,” HHS Secretary Tom Price was asked about part of Republicans’ bill that widens the possible ratio of premium prices between young and old people from 3:1 to 5:1, allowing insurers to charge older people more.
“That’s going in the wrong direction,” Steve Doocy said.
“Well, it’s pricing for what individuals’ health status is, and that’s important to appreciate,” Price said. “Somebody’s going to pay for health coverage for the American people, and the question is how do you do that. And right now, what we’re seeing is that the current plan doesn’t work, because you’ve got 20 million individuals out there who’ve said, ‘Nonsense, I’m not even going to participate in this process.'”
Those would be the 20 million who did indeed decide not to get insurance, but more of them are the people who have hardship exemptions under the law because they can’t afford to pay for insurance. They’re the Medicaid gap people, in states that didn’t expand Medicaid. So they’re too poor to qualify for subsidies on the marketplace, but don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid. People who would probably very much like to “participate in this process” of having health care.
There are plenty of Republicans who seem genuinely ignorant of how health insurance—any insurance—actually works, that everyone pays into a big fund understanding that it will help everyone, and also that it might help them with some catastrophic event in the future. Price is a doctor. He definitely understands it. But Price is one of those people who thinks like Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL)—if you need a lot of health care and can’t afford to pay for it, you don’t deserve it. You’ve probably done something “bad” that brought your bad health on yourself.
That’s how the guy in charge of our nation’s health system thinks.