Alabama congressman: "People who lead good lives" don't have preexisting conditions

Mo Brooks says people without pre-existing conditions have "done things the right way"

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published May 2, 2017 12:20PM (EDT)

Mo Brooks          (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Mo Brooks (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Donald Trump may be desperate to score a legislative win with Trumpcare 2.0, but if members of his own party keep coming across as insensitive to the needs of the less fortunate, that will be increasingly difficult for him to do.

Take Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, who during an interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on Monday claimed that "people who lead good lives" don't have to worry about dealing with pre-existing conditions — like a stroke, or heart problems or birth defects.

As Brooks told Tapper: "My understanding is that (the new proposal) will allow insurance companies to require people who have higher health care costs to contribute more to the insurance pool. That helps offset all these costs, thereby reducing the cost to those people who lead good lives, they're healthy, they've done the things to keep their bodies healthy. And right now, those are the people — who've done things the right way — that are seeing their costs skyrocketing."

Brooks is a member of the House Freedom Caucus, which played a critical role in torpedoing Trump's previous attempt at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Like many other members of the caucus, Brooks has expressed a willingness to support Trumpcare 2.0 because it will allow individual states to waive health care mandates that cover individuals with pre-existing conditions. He is also said to be "seriously considering" a run for the Senate in the near future.

Perhaps realizing that his previous comments sounded insensitive, Brooks did try to backpedal later in the interview. "In fairness, a lot of these people with pre-existing conditions, they have those conditions through no fault of their own," the Alabama congressman told Tapper. "And I think our society, under those circumstances, needs to help. The challenge though is that it's a tough balancing act between the higher cost of these mandates which denies people coverage because they can't afford their health insurance policies . . . and having enough coverage to help those people truly in need."



By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer at Salon. He received a Master's Degree in History from Rutgers-Newark in 2012 and was awarded a science journalism fellowship from the Metcalf Institute in 2022.

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Donald Trump Mo Brooks Trumpcare Trumpcare 2.0