Obama responds to Jimmy Kimmel’s tearful plea
This week, millions of people watched Jimmy Kimmel tearfully explain the health struggles his infant son faced when he was just a few hours old. He was born with a congenital heart defect, and had to undergo a three hour long surgery just hours after his birth.
Kimmel’s wife gave birth to their second child just weeks ago, so the experience is still so raw that when Kimmel recounted it, it was almost as if he were experiencing it again. The most incredible part of his transparent monologue was that he took one of the most harrowing moments in his life and used the story as an opportunity to make a plea to all Americans to recognize how important accessible, affordable health care that doesn’t deny those with pre-existing conditions is. The message even got to President Obama, who weighed in on what Kimmel had said.
Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny people with pre-existing conditions. It’s not a place we should ever return.
When Trump was trying to get his health care bill passed in March — you know, the one that wanted to make maternity care optional and refuse women mammograms — one of the reasons it didn’t pass was because it wasn’t conservative enough. That’s right, the House Freedom Caucus met with Trump days before the vote (remember that photo of all the men deciding on women’s health?) and were hell-bent on repealing the “pre-existing condition” clause. So of course there is some fear that whatever mess of a health care bill is coming out of this administration next is going to be even worse than the one we just saw. As in, crafted-by-Voldemort levels of bad.
Anyone with a pre-existing condition deserves health care, but we’re really able to see the epic levels of evil this administration is willing to sink to when we think about health care in terms of what an infant child needs. If a child is born with a heart condition, or any other health condition, they basically exit the womb with a “pre-existing” condition. Are we really okay with saying health insurance companies should once again be able to deny coverage, force parents to struggle to find help for their children, and bankrupt families?
Is this who we are? Would this Make America Great Again?
Trump insists the new health care plan his administration is crafting will not deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, according to — you guessed it! — a tweet this week:
But the Los Angeles Times reports the latest version “would let states escape a requirement under Obama’s 2010 law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates. The overall legislation would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate fines for people who don’t buy insurance and provide generally skimpier subsidies. Critics have said the approach could reduce protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
So it wouldn’t deny coverage, but it may make the premiums so expensive families can’t afford them.
Kirsten Sloan, senior director of policy analysis and legislative support at the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, explains to Bloomberg that Obamacare “allowed a person with cancer to both get and keep insurance because of the insurance market protections; it made sure the insurance the kind of person with cancer was purchasing was meaningful.” She says the Republican proposal “begins to erode those protections.”
“A new amendment aimed at winning over conservative holdouts would allow states to apply for waivers from Obamacare’s requirements to provide certain essential health benefits if they are able to show that the modifications would cut prices,” reports Bloomberg. If states are allowed to use waivers, Sloan says, “you really are not guaranteeing that a cancer patient could get and afford coverage.”
Seems like Trump is attempting to escape the backlash of denying care for pre-existing conditions, by using clever semantics; insisting the bill “takes care of” pre-existing conditions while still allowing states to skirt around covering them.
And as a contrast to how Obama and anyone with a heart is responding to the need for pre-existing condition coverage, here is Republican Joe Walsh’s take on the matter:
“If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” Kimmel said. “I think that’s something that whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat or something else, we all agree on that, right? … No parent should ever have to decide if they can afford to save their child’s life. It just shouldn’t happen. Not here.”