President Trump's explanation of health insurance in a recent interview with The New York Times raised some questions about his basic understanding of how health insurance functions. Here's Trump on why "pre-existing conditions are a tough deal":
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, 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." [President Trump, via The New York Times]
The Washington Post took a whack at what Trump was trying to say:
Trump is arguing, it seems, that an insurance system is supposed to be based on people paying in over a lengthy period of time so that, when they need coverage, they've already helped offset the costs. He thinks of it, in other words, a bit like life insurance, or Social Security.
His point, it appears, is that a system where people suddenly have the need for new coverage or coverage that's expensive from the outset "was not supposed to be the way insurance works." That's not really true, of course; for someone born with a heart condition, for example, there was no halcyon period in their 20s when they could pay into the system without needing more back in coverage.
That's how health insurance differs from life insurance. Instead of one person paying against his own future needs, it's a pool of people paying in against their collective future needs. [The Washington Post]
This, coming from the man who claimed senators "couldn't believe" how much he knows about health care.