Speaker of the House Paul Ryan made it clear during his CNN healthcare town hall that his plan to reduce healthcare costs involving moving cancer patients to high-risk pools that will be run by the states with benefits capped. In other words, cancer patients will be given less healthcare and lower odds of survival.
Video of Ryan town hall:
Ryan said, “So, do we want to make sure that a person with — like yourself, with a pre-existing condition gets affordable care? Of course. Of course. There is a better way to fix that problem without giving everybody else all these massive premium increases. Deductibles are so high it doesn’t even feel like you’ve got insurance anymore. So we — obviously, I would encourage you to go to our website and take a look at our plan, but let me just give you a few ideas: We believe that state high-risk pools are a smart way of guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.”
Just to make it crystal clear, Ryan thinks cancer patients and other pre-existing conditions are ruining healthcare for everyone else, “So we, obviously, want to have a system where they can get affordable coverage without going bankrupt because they get sick. But, we can do that without destroying the rest of the healthcare system for everybody else. That’s the point I’m trying to make. What we should have done was fix what was broken in health care without breaking what was working in healthcare, and that’s what, unfortunately, Obamacare did. So, by financing state high-risk pools to guarantee people get affordable coverage when they have a pre-existing condition, like yourself, what you’re doing is, you’re dramatically lowering the price of insurance for everybody else.”
The true evil in the Republican plan is that by separating out the high-risk patients from everyone else, Ryan and Trump can keep costs down by underfunding the pool for people who need healthcare the most with less money.
The always excellent Charles Gaba wrote, “Well, Ryan is proposing a $25 billion risk pool fund over a 10 year period. That sounds like a lot, but it only averages $2.5 billion per year (I presume it’s less the first few years, more later on via inflation). According to this article by Ian Milhiser at Think Progress, to adequately cover 875,000 high-risk patients would have cost seven billion per year…and that was in 2008. That’s 2.8x as much as Ryan is proposing, and that was 9 years ago (10, if we assume the new plan doesn’t go into effect until 2018). I have to imagine that $7B would be up to at least $10B by then, and that’s for 875,000 patients.”
2.4 million Americans have expensive pre-existing conditions. The Republican answer to their healthcare costs is to lump them all in an underfunded state-run high-risk pool, where there will be a waiting list of 6-12 months, and lifetime benefits limits, and tell them good luck beating your life threatening illness with less healthcare.
If you have cancer or another life-threatening pre-existing condition, the election of Donald Trump to be the next president could cost you your life, but hey, at least health insurance premiums will drop for everyone else.
If a few million people have to die to lower insurance premiums, Donald Trump and Paul Ryan seem perfectly fine with that.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association