by Bill Schanefelt
It is stunning to watch Republicans being put on the defensive time and time again by the “Pre-Existing Conditions” argument.
Every word has meaning and power:
The inherent power of (a) word is a phenomenon that has been both omnipresent and essential throughout the long histories of literature, philosophy, religion and politics.
Aside from using the free ride to be given to the under-26 crowd, the most common club used on our team is the nonsense that the existence of a pre-existing condition must not restrict or deny a person’s “right” to health insurance.
The very utterance of that notion conveys ignorance of the meanings of insurance — namely, “[c]overage by a contract binding a party to indemnify another against specified loss in return for premiums paid[.]”
Then there’s the meaning of insurance contract:
… includes, at a minimum, the following elements: identification of participating parties (the insurer, the insured, the beneficiaries), the premium, the period of coverage, the particular loss event covered, the amount of coverage (i.e., the amount to be paid to the insured or beneficiary in the event of a loss), and exclusions (events not covered). An insured is thus said to be “indemnified” against the loss covered in the policy.
And actuarial risk:
And, of course, Pre-Existing Condition:
… a risk with extant causes that is not readily compensated by standard, affordable insurance premiums. Pre-existing condition exclusions by the insurance industry are meant to cope with adverse selection by potential customers. Such exclusions have become a topic in the health care reform debate in the United States in 2009 and 2010. Several surveys over that period have shown a very strong opposition to the exclusions and support for banning them.
Let’s look at some situations wherein the word “pre-existing” is a factor:
Take the case of John, a typical person with coverage for his diabetes by his employer’s insurer, who leaves his current employer, Jack, to go to work for Jim. Coverage for that pre-existing condition, diabetes, by Jim’s insurer is a common situation for which there are many current and proposed remedies that are less drastic than ObamaTax. Similar remedies are also currently available in the case of John’s leaving Jack for self-employment or no employment.