Friday, September 17, 2010

Bad heartless analogy of the day

Addressing the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., today, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee likened people with pre-existing conditions to burned-down houses:

“And then a lot of this, it sounds so good, and it's such a warm message to say, ‘And we’re not gonna deny anyone from a pre-existing condition.’ Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I wanna ask you something from a common sense perspective. Suppose we applied that principle, that you can just come on with whatever condition you have and we’re gonna cover you at the same cost we’re covering everybody else because we wanna be fair. Okay, fine. Then let’s do that with our property insurance. And you can call your insurance agent and say, ‘I’d like to buy some insurance for my house.’ He’d say, ‘Tell me about your house.’ ‘Well, sir, it burned down yesterday, but I’d like to insure it today.’ [Laughter.] And he’ll say ‘I’m sorry, but we can’t insure it after it’s already burned.’ Well, no pre-existing conditions.”
Gosh, why don’t sick people just go off someplace to die? And thereby (as another model of human compassion once put it) “decrease the surplus population.”

If you’d like to listen, the audio is at Media Matters.

A related post
Bad analogy of the day (Faculty : students :: waiters : customers)

comments: 7

mari said...

Bah, humbug....so much for mankind being his business. How long do you suppose Huckabee's chain is?

Eustace Bright said...

For me, the problem is not the analogy itself, but that it doesn't describe any real problem caused by the health care overhaul recently passed.

Indeed, it would be a problem if we waited to buy insurance until we were sick. Insurance doesn't work that way; the claims the insurance company pays healthcare providers has to come from somewhere, and that somewhere is your premiums. (And the stock market.)

The problem with the analogy, as I said, is that under the new health care legislation, you can't "wait until your house burns". You have to buy insurance, and you have to do it now.

Insurance company lobbyists were and are fully aware of the fact that you have to couple a provision prohibiting denial of policy issuance with a provision mandating universal coverage for all Americans. And that wasn't a problem for the Democrats they were trying to lobby -- universal coverage is what they are looking for anyway. :D

Michael Leddy said...

My own preference is a single-payer system. But my interest here was really in the analogy: that Mike Huckabee likened a person with, say, diabetes or hypertension to a burned-down house. Good grief.

normann said...

Few character types are as insufferable as a reformed drunk, or as in the case of the former governor of Arkansas, a "former fatty" (not my words). Behind this smug and barely concealed godless Calvinism is the idea that the type-2 diabetics, arthritics and cardiac patients deserve what they get. Instead, Mike Huckabee should show a little charity (how Catholic!) towards his fellow former victims of the all-you-can eat corn-powered feedlot smörgåsbord that I have just spent two weeks visiting. He should focus his righteousness not on those who diets have screwed up their metabolism but on those who profit from selling them cheap, but empty calories, dangerous meds and mobility scooters when they cannot support their own body weight. Of course, he won't. It's much more fun to be almighty when you have an easy target, just as it is easier to rail against a sin that you wouldn't be tempted to commit in a million years than a temptation that haunts your every waking (and sleeping) hour.

Elaine said...

An even better example for Mike Huckabee might be our daughter, Laura, who was born with a severe congenital heart defect. One of her heart surgeries went badly, leaving her partially paralyzed from the chest down at age 7 months. Boom: Uninsurable-R-Us. There was no power on heaven or earth that would have prevented Laura's heart defect, but since she would always need to be followed by specialists, the insurance companies felt fully justified in excluding her from coverage.

I started volunteering, writing, speaking, and advocating for universal single-payer health care insurance when Laura was about 12 years old--with what success you may have noticed....and she will be 30 on her next birthday. She spent several years in the High-Risk Pool (a bad idea that doesn't work) in Mike Huckabee's own state; not great, but it helped with her $500/month drug bill. But now...(I'm kind of smiling)...she has the same coverage your Senator has--she's a research physicist working for the Federal Government. For the record: Mike Huckabee is actually worse than he sounds.

Michael Leddy said...

Mike Huckabee just baffles me — he seems like a genial, witty fellow, until he gets around to talking about his ideas. As far as I can tell, he’s offered no apology for or “clarification” of his words.

Norman, it sounds like you know the Mike Huckabee Elaine describes (worse, even, than he sounds).

Elaine, I’m glad your daughter has good (better than good) insurance. It makes such a difference.

Elaine said...

Health insurance is an issue that's been crazy-making (for me, anyway, for 30+ years.) In reality, it is a social justice issue, but too often an "I've got mine/Me first" society is not pausing to think clearly. Even now, most policies will not cover, say, diabetic nutritional counseling--but will cover the amputation that might have been avoided by preventive care. My private policy won't cover any problem to do with my wrists, because I had surgery for severe tendonitis; if I slip on the ice and break a wrist, it's a 'complication' of the pre-existing problem, and thus not covered.