Saturday, July 22, 2017

Vox -- Trump has no idea how much health insurance costs

President Donald Trump cites policy he has never taken the time to read. He claims numerical statistics that he doesn’t care whether or not are factual. He doesn’t even try to understand pending legislation and do the homework required to understand.

He has no idea what he's doing or what struggles American families are actually facing.

“I know a lot about health care,” President Donald Trump declared in a Wednesday interview with the New York Times.

But Trump’s answers to other questions betrayed how little he knows about health policy. As Ezra Klein wrote yesterday, this has become a major stumbling block in Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Trump can’t strike a deal on health care when he doesn’t understand health policy.

Trump cited numbers that don’t seem to come from any recent version of the health care debate.

From the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan, Trump told the Times.

Of course, anyone who has purchased health coverage, let alone studied the health insurance market, knows that a $12 annual premium is nonexistent -- and that premiums are typically paid in months rather than years. The numbers Trump cites seem to come from the universe of life insurance rather than that of health insurance. Life insurance premiums are significantly lower and a completely different benefit program than health coverage.

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders:

I’m not sure which world he’s living in, but in this one, health insurance is a lot more than $12. In fact, the Republican health care bill in the Senate right now would take premiums that already cost hundreds of dollars and multiply them. Under their bill, someone making $26,500 a year and paying $800 for premiums today would have to pay $13,000 for a premium in 2026. $13,000!

Mr. President, you need to understand the reality that people face with the enormous costs of health insurance we have today. What this country needs is to guarantee health care to all, not to make health insurance even more unaffordable than it already is for millions of Americans.

By Sarah Kliff