It Looks Like the President Is Confusing Health Insurance With Life Insurance

Sarah Wasko  Media Matters

Sarah Wasko Media Matters

"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.

Trump made many surprising statements during the New York Times interview, including saying he wouldn't have nominated Jeff Sessions as attorney general if he'd known Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia/collusion investigation, and what appears to be a threat to Special Counsel Robert Mueller to avoid moving his investigation into Trump's personal business dealings.

It is obvious that Trump dived into the Republican health care repeal effort without knowing the faintest thing about insurance markets or the financial difficulty many people have in obtaining good coverage for themselves and their families - and that he has walked away from his failure having learned nothing.

Although it is possible some people pay $12 per year or less for insurance, that is likely only a result of a generous employer contribution that lowers the cost for employees as part of their benefits package. This prompted a number of observers to wonder if Trump was confusing health insurance with the life insurance ads that air in heavy rotation on cable news.

So yes, it looks like the president doesn't understand how heath insurance works or how much it actually costs, yet he still wants to dismantle Obamacare. The average cost of insurance varies from state to state, but a year ago, there was no state in which it was less than $180 per month. In a May interview with the Economist, he estimated that health coverage ought to cost $15 per month. Once you get something for pre-existing conditions, etc., etc. Of course, 70-year-old Americans in every possible system of American health care-the one that now exists, the ones that are proposed by Republicans, and the ones that are proposed by Democrats-will be covered by Medicare, not by plans they started to pay into when they were 21.

Most voters I talk to don't have this expectation.

"It seems Trump might think health insurance is the same as the "low monthly price" life insurance from TV ads", he wrote. Given Republican lawmakers' current attempts to overhaul the nation's health insurance structure, this detail may give some voters cause for concern.

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