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

Failing Bridges Hold Public Hostage

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

The Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) gave the public just a few hours’ notice before closing a major bridge in March, citing significant safety concerns.

The West Seattle Bridge functioned as an essential component of  the city’s local and regional transportation network, carrying 125,000 travelers a day while serving Seattle’s critical maritime and freight industries. Closing it was a huge blow to the city and its citizens. 

Yet neither Seattle’s struggle with bridge maintenance nor the inconvenience now facing the city’s motorists is unusual. Decades of neglect left bridges across the country crumbling or near collapse, requiring a massive investment to keep traffic flowing safely.

When they opened it in 1984, officials predicted the West Seattle Bridge would last 75 years.

But in 2013, cracks started appearing in the center span’s box girders, the main horizontal support beams below the roadway. These cracks spread 2 feet in a little more than two weeks, prompting the bridge’s closure.

And it’s still at risk of falling.  

The city set up an emergency alert system so those in the “fall zone” could be quickly evacuated if the bridge deteriorates to the point of collapse.

More than one-third of U.S. bridges similarly need repair work or replacement, a reminder of America’s urgent need to invest in long-ignored infrastructure.

Fixing or replacing America’s bridges wouldn’t just keep Americans moving. It would also provide millions of family-supporting jobs for steel and cement workers, while also boosting the building trades and other industries.

With bridges across the country close to failure and millions unemployed, America needs a major infrastructure campaign now more than ever.


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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work