Pennsylvania Senator Compares Those With Pre-Existing Conditions To Burned Down Houses

by Jordan Davidson for The Mighty
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

A 24-second-long C-SPAN clip of Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania is making its way around social media after the Republican Senator compared people with pre-existing conditions to burned-down houses.

The clip, which is part of the Senate confirmation hearing for Representative Tom Price (R-GA), Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, shows Toomey questioning Price about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and insuring people with pre-existing conditions.

Toomey asks:

Now one way to force it [coverage] is to force insurance companies to provide health insurance coverage to someone as soon as they show up, regardless of what condition they have, which is kind of like asking the property/casualty company to rebuild the house after it’s burned down.

The soundbite is preceded by Toomey explaining how 43% of Pennsylvanians have one choice of insurer under the ACA and then asking how to reform that system and keep coverage for pre-existing conditions. Toomey noted that forcing insurance companies to “show up” is one way of ensuring coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and asked Price if he believes there are more effective ways achieve this without a mandate.

In a request for comment from PennLive, Toomey’s spokesperson defended the Senator’s metaphor, stating:

Senator Toomey was making an analogy about how insurance markets work, and why Obamacare is in the midst of a ‘death spiral,’ where prices for insurance continue to rise, and healthier, wealthier and younger Americans are finding it more appealing to go without insurance.

Regardless of Toomey’s explanation, his constituents and those living with pre-existing conditions have take to social media to explain why you can’t reduce people with disabilities and illnesses to burned-down houses.