I’m going to go ahead and say it, Jimmy Kimmel talking about pre-existing conditions was bad for the direction of the healthcare debate and policy. It was the moment that the GOP realized that all they had to do was say that they are covering pre-existing conditions despite the substance of their bill, state waivers for essential health benefits, which make pre-existing condition protections meaningless. Further, it focused the narrative pre-existing conditions, while ignoring the most significant aspect of the house and senate bills, drastic cuts to Medicaid.
Yes, it was great that all the attention generated attention and donations to that particular hospital. The problem is those are one time donations to one hospital. It shouldn’t require a celebrity on national TV telling a compelling story to make people want to fund healthcare.
Another problem is that we have a large portion of the country that think “they[healthy people] shouldn’t have to pay for sick people”. Insurance is literally pooling premiums for a large portion of insured to cover the cost of a smaller portion of those insured that encounter unexpected risk. Health insurance is explicitly healthy people paying for the sick. The same way the car insurance premiums from people that don’t get in accidents pay for those that do. This is a really simple concept. Also, car insurance is mandated for the exact reason that if uninsured driver gets in an accident, is at fault and can’t afford to pay forces losses to be borne by those that pay for insurance. It is no different than a “young healthy person” that the Republicans say shouldn’t be mandated to buy insurance gets hit by a car, gets a catastrophic injury, is then faced with six-figure or even higher medical bills and is forced to declare bankruptcy.
But the biggest problem, together with the notion that healthy people shouldn’t have to pay for sick people is the that Medicaid recipients are people undeserving because they’re lazy or irresponsible or simply can’t afford it. That is what drives the GOP effort to cut Medicaid to fund tax cuts. I’ve heard people say “why should the ones that pay their way pay for the people that don’t”. The simple fact is that a broken arm and trip to the emergency room, let alone any major health issue, is unaffordable for even most of the middle class. Lack of access to healthcare is often why people can’t work. Without Medicaid for my employees, wheelchairs, supplies, doctor visits, etc. I couldn’t work. The “Jimmy Kimmel test” gave the Republicans an easy way out and a soundbite to mislead people into thinking their bill does something it won’t.