United States Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) spoke with CNN host Jake Tapper on Monday about the new GOP Obamacare replacement bill, and told Tapper that pre-existing condition limitations were fair game because people who stay healthy deserve to pay lower premiums for their health insurance.
Tapper noted to Brooks that although President Donald Trump claimed that the new plan still prohibited insurance carriers from discriminating based on pre-existing conditions, that notion wasn’t entirely accurate because it also allows for states to opt out of the requirement as long as there is a high-risk pool set up in the state.
“This new legislation would allow states to opt out, and allow insurance companies to refuse to sell insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, as long as there’s some set-up for them,” Tapper said.
“That’s not my understanding of the way the bill has been reframed,” Brooks answered. “My understanding is that 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 costs to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, they’ve done the things to keep their bodies healthy.
“Right now, those are the people have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocket,” Brooks said.
He did clarify that some of those participants had pre-existing conditions through no fault of their own, and that there should be a system set up to help those people, but did not give any ideas on how to accomplish that idea.
Brooks’ comments have drawn criticism from Democrats who oppose modifications to the Affordable Care Act, but the principle of requiring insureds who engage in higher risk behaviors to pay more for premiums is relatively common in the insurance industry. Car insurance companies typically charge drivers with histories of accidents and traffic tickets more on an individual basis for premiums, and will often refuse to cover high-risk drivers entirely.
The Affordable Care Act’s provisions that prevent insurers from engaging in this behavior has been blamed for the steep rise in premiums that Americans have experienced since the Act took effect.
The Affordable Care Act currently requires all insurance carriers to cover any pre-existing medical conditions a planholder was diagnosed with before purchasing an insurance plan.