The President of the United States Thinks Health Insurance Costs $12 Per Year

Addy Baird

Addy Baird Reporter, ThinkProgress

President Donald Trump continues to change his position on health care, and recent comments he made to The New York Times reveal he might not understand how health insurance even works.

In an interview Wednesday with The Times, Trump signaled that, if he could, he would strip away protections for pre-existing conditions — but he also said he is generally of the view that people should have health care.

“Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Once you get something, it’s awfully tough to take it away,” Trump told reporters from the Times. “As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal.”

Times reporter Maggie Haberman then asked Trump if he was “generally of the view that people should have health care,” to which Trump responded, “Yes, yes.”

But wanting to strip people of protections for pre-existing conditions is completely contradictory to the belief that people should have health care. Without protections that keep insurers from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions, those people can be charged significantly more for insurance, which could ultimately price people with the highest need for care out of the market.

Earlier Wednesday, Trump also said that under the Senate’s (currently non-existent) health care plan, people would have better protections for pre-existing conditions than they did under the Affordable Care Act.

Other comments from Trump’s interview with the Times reveal that the president might not understand what health insurance is.

“Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance,” Trump said, “and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, ‘I want my insurance.’”

Trump has described health insurance in this way before.

“Insurance is, you’re 20 years old, you just graduated from college, and you start paying $15 a month for the rest of your life and by the time you’re 70, and you really need it, you’re still paying the same amount and that’s really insurance,” the president said in an interview with The Economist in May.

The comment has mostly gotten flack for Trump’s comment that health insurance costs just $12 a month, but, at least for some people, he’s not actually wrong. There are people in the United States who are on Medicaid or receive large subsidies under the ACA who pay less than $12 a year for insurance.

Most people, of course, pay significantly more, but what’s notable about Trump’s comment is that the description he uses in both interviews is not health insurance, but rather more like life insurance.

The president isn’t alone in describing health insurance entirely inaccurately.

In May, House Speaker Paul Ryan said insurance could not work if healthy people had to subsidize sick people, despite the fact that healthy people subsidizing sick people is literally what health insurance is.


Reposted from ThinkProgress

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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