Mo Brooks, TRUMPcare, and the Big Eff You
Representative Morris Jackson Brooks, Jr. (R-Ala.), aka Mo Brooks, offered up more stupid on health care the other day. Defending and advocating for Trumpcare—I assume the president likes the appellation, and likes it better when he sees TRUMPcare—Congressman Brooks said:
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 have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.
So what’s going on here? Lots. We have another self-satisfied, mostly worked for the government dude man-splaining to us the health insurance issue. (I’m just getting started, BTW.)
For sure, we have Americans among us who abuse their bodies. They’re all of us, in ways small and large. Having conceded that issue, plenty of us have conditions or diseases which come by us involuntarily, on account of genes, the environment, or bad effing luck. And guess what, Mo-(Fo) Brooks? With annual insurance renewals, even nice folks like you, who lead good lives, are healthy, and do what they must to be healthy, may have a pre-existing condition. Got cancer? Die within the policy year when you learn about your cancer, or forget about insurance? COPD or congestive heart failure? Same deal. Parkinson’s? You betcha.
(Then there are the poor people, whose only crime is poverty, who suffer from higher rates of lead poisoning (think Flint), asthma, and a plethora of other conditions caused by a poor environment, which the Trump Administration seems hell-bent on making worse.)
Pre-Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, I was a solo practitioner. I did not have a reliable source for a group insurance plan which did not underwrite for specific health conditions. And the health conditions which challenged me? Hypertension and cholesterol, both of which were—and are—controlled by medication.
I have never smoked. I do drink more than I ought to. And while I am in the normal range for weight now, I was probably 10 – 15 pounds overnight seven or eight years ago. Hardly ignorant about health, ever. Oh, and I have a pre-cancerous esophageal condition, for which I take meds and am regularly tested. (I have Barrett’s esophagus, I think, because when I had chest pain and went to the ER, where docs trained to make sure I didn’t die on their watch, said “No heart problems.” No doctor was concerned about what was going on until I had abdominal pain. With a clean colonoscopy, my doctor suggested a look-see from the top down. Voila! Bad cells at the base of the esophagus.)
Along about 2008, I applied under the State Bar of Arizona health insurance plan. “No,” was the response to my application. “You have high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.” And you sell this plan to attorneys, I wondered. (I asked about my Barrett’s esophagus. “If you solve for hypertension and cholesterol,” I was told, “we’ll cover you … with an exclusion for any digestive system problems.” So, get rid of the high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol and have coverage, so long as I have no issues involving my mouth and my arse—I leave for London tomorrow—and anywhere in between.
When I was turned down I had a conversation with a friend. Government worker. Hated insurers, but hates Ds and people telling him what to do more. “You can get insurance,” he pronounced. “There’s an insurer for every risk, and you just don’t want to pay the price.” From where did this come? Charity golf tournaments, where Lloyd’s of London will provide insurance for hole-in-one contests. Anyone bought health insurance from Lloyd’s lately? I thought not.
Like my friend, Congressman Mo Brooks knows f*ck-all about these issues, and wants know even less. He wants to fulfill a years’ long vendetta against an “imperfect, but better than its predecessor” method for paying for health care. And he wants a win, for the Rs and their Commander in Chief, Donald J. Trump.
The stupid reeks here. High risk pools represent the antitheses of insurance. Passing a bill without a review by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office brings to mind the Three Wise Monkeys, who see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.
Finally, I am a privileged man. I have an insurance safety valve. And if premiums get much larger, I will survive. Millions won’t, however, and it’s for them that I offer these thoughts.