Huckabee Supports Denying Coverage For Those With Preexisting Conditions

September 17, 2010 11:38 am ET — Chris Harris

Today marks the start of the religious right's Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC.  After a rousing multi-verse rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took the stage.

Pleasing the crowd, Huckabee launched into a long attack on the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform bill passed into law earlier this year.  In an odd political move, Huckabee came out swinging against the most popular aspect of the bill, outlawing insurance companies from denying health coverage to those with preexisting conditions.

HUCKABEE: And a lot of this, it sounds so good, and it's such a warm message to say we're not gonna deny anyone from a preexisting condition. Look, I think that sounds terrific, but I want to ask you something from a common sense perspective.  Suppose we applied that principle that you can just come along with whatever condition you have and we're gonna cover you at the same cost we're covering everybody else 'cause 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." And he'll say "I'm sorry, but we can't insure it after it's already burned." Well, no preexisting conditions.

How would you like to be able to call your insurance agent for your car and say 'I want you to insure my car.' 'Well tell me about your car.' 'Well it was a pretty nice vehicle until my sixteen year-old boy wrecked it yesterday. [He] totaled the thing out but I'd like to get it insurance so we can get it replaced.' Now how much would a policy cost if it covered everything?  About as much as it's gonna cost for health care in this country.


Huckabee is not only mocking Democrats, but also 89 percent of Americans and his own party's Congressional leaders.  According to a Wall Street Journal article on a health care poll:

Most popular by a mile: "Requiring that health insurance companies cover people with pre-existing medical conditions." Sixty-three percent of respondents said that proposal "absolutely must" be included as part of any final legislation, and another 26% said they "would prefer" for it to be included.

According to the poll, EIGHTY-NINE percent of Americans believe this provision of the bill is a good idea.  Americans are tired of feeling helpless, they're tired of powerful insurance companies pushing them around when they're feeling vulnerable, and they're tired of putting their health and their lives on the line so insurance giants can make a quick buck.

Yet rather than listen to the American people, Mike Huckabee grabbed a microphone to mock them.

In fact, Republicans in Congress even recognized the public's view on this issue when they pretended their health care alternative would make it "illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage to someone with prior coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition" (it didn't). 

It also should be noted that in trying to attack the bill, Huckabee inadvertently made the case for the individual mandate, which was included in the bill to avoid the scenarios he mockingly speculated about.