GOP Rep.: Insurance Will Cost More For Sick People Who Don’t Lead ‘Good Lives’

J. Scott Applewhite/AP

A Republican congressman said Monday that an amendment to the GOP’s American Health Care Act would require sicker people to pay more in insurance costs than people “who lead good lives.”

In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper Monday, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was asked about an amendment he supports to Republicans’ health care effort that would allow states to opt out of health- and age-based pricing protections required by Obamacare, if they established high-risk pools or other equivalent measures in their place.

Opponents of the amendment say it would lead to higher costs for sicker, older people. Brooks granted that.

“My understanding is that it will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool that helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy, you know, they are doing the things to keep their bodies healthy,” he said. “And right now, those are the people who have done things the right way that are seeing their costs skyrocketing.”

A spokesperson for Brooks did not immediately respond to TPM’s questions about the remark.

“Now in fairness, a lot of these people with pre-existing conditions, they have those conditions through no fault of their own, and I think our society under those circumstances needs to help,” Brooks continued. “The challenge though is that it’s a tough balancing act between the higher cost of these mandates which denies people coverage because they can’t afford the health insurance policies anymore on the one and and having enough coverage to help those people who are truly in need, and it’s a very complicated question, and I’m sure over the years there will be different permutations of it, both in the past as we go forward.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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