Purple Public - The Political Voice For Moderate Americans

High-Risk Pools a.k.a. Healthcare Segregation

By: Chad Allen - 1/21/2017

Segregation - the action or state of setting someone or something apart from other people or things or being set apart.

Here we go again America...

Republicans are once again presenting high-risks insurance pools as some magical panacea for lowering health insurance costs in America. Nevermind the fact that high-risks pools have been tried over and over again long before the Affordable Care Act was even around, and they failed miserably virtually every time to deliver on their supposed benefits.

Why High-Risk Pools Fail

(1.) Politicians never, and let me repeat never, fund high-risk pools properly. This is once again on display when reviewing the two proposals from Republican lawmakers Tom Price and Paul Ryan. Price suggest only allocating $1 billion dollars a year, while Ryan suggest $2.5 billion dollars a year.

Neither of those figures are even remotely close to ensuring that all Americans with pre-exsiting conditions will be able to get affordable coverage according to independent healthcare policy experts.

Even the most conservative estimates put a realistic annual price tag of around $15-$20 billion dollars a year, "to sustain a well-functioning system of high-risk pools."

(2.) When high-risk pools are not funded properly waiting lines form for those who need it... a.k.a. Healthcare rationing occurs for the very poor and sick.

(3.) Even when they are heavily subsidized they are still way too expensive for the majority of those needing to use them.

It is Also More Than Just the Costs

While listening to Paul Ryan speak about high-risk pools at the CNN town hall the other night, to the man who said the ACA saved his life, my heart just sank into my stomach for that man.

This was because while most high-risk pools fail to deliver because of underestimating their true cost, there is also another very important reason as to why they are just bad public policy.

High-risk pools are just a fancy way of saying that you are now a "diseased" American; therefore, we have to segregate you from the rest of society to keep you from doing, in this case, financial harm to them.

To put it more simply, America would essentially be creating a discriminatory healthcare class system.

Now that may sound fine to you if you are currently a healthy American with no major medical issues, but your opinion on high-risk pools will change quite rapidly if you ever find yourself or a loved one dumped into one of them in the future.

It is the classic case of... "You'd better be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it."

Hey Republicans What Happened to the Free Market

One of the less talked about things related to high-risk pools is that they go completely against all of the "free market" principles that Republicans supposedly embrace.

This is because with high-risk pools you are essentially telling health insurance companies that they can simply be in the business of providing health insurance only to healthy people. Heck, what health insurance company wouldn't love that "free market" business model.

They get to rake in all of the profits they want from healthy enrollees, and then the second those enrollees become sick they can simply dump them off into taxpayer subsidized high-risk pools at no loss to the health insurance companies.

Sorry Republicans, but that certainly sounds like a taxpayer funded government bailout of the health insurance companies to ensure their profitability, which is in direct conflict with "free market" principles.

So in conclusion...

Sorry America, but high-risk pools are not going to make the American healthcare system the envy of the world anytime soon.