The GOP has had quite a time trying to repeal Obamacare and instate a new plan in its place, after one failed attempt and another go at Trumpcare facing a particularly contentious vote. As the plan begins to take shape, many disagree on the details, including what to do about pre-existing conditions. Mo Brooks, a Republican Congressman from Alabama, spoke with Jake Tapper on CNN on Monday and shared his views, with things taking an unfortunate turn. According to Brooks:
“My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now those are the people—who’ve done things the right way—that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”
There’s a lot to unpack in that statement, but the main point that needs to be made is this: the equivocation of morality and health should not be made. Being sick is not a punishment for some moral failing, and plenty of people who have “done all the right things” still get cancer, heart disease, and the full spectrum of other illnesses. Under this worldview, would pregnant women be considered moral failures for needing insurance with a preexisting condition?
Brooks does add a small caveat to his statement, saying:
“In fairness, a lot of these people with pre-existing conditions, they have those conditions through no fault of their own. And I think our society, under those circumstances, needs to help.”
That being said, there is still a profound misunderstanding with this approach to healthcare. If the GOP is ever going to pass a functional healthcare bill, punishing people with preexisting conditions — the ones who need insurance the most — will not help their cause.