Paul Ryan's slideshow on GOP health care plan suggests he has no idea how insurance works

Source: AP
Source: AP

House Speaker Paul Ryan rolled up his shirtsleeves Thursday to deliver a presentation about the House Republicans' health care plan and explain why it will fix all the problems he said the Affordable Care Act wrought.

But in the process, Ryan seemed to lack a fundamental understanding of how insurance works, leading to him getting mercilessly dragged on social media.

"The fatal conceit of Obamacare is that we're just going to make everybody buy our health insurance at the federal government level, young and healthy people are going to go into the market and pay for the older sicker people," Ryan said at his daily press briefing on Capitol Hill. 

"So the young, healthy person is going to be made to buy health care, they're going to pay for the person who gets breast cancer in her 40s, or who gets heart disease in his 50s," he continued.

What Ryan described is how all insurance works

Insurance, by definition, is a risk management system. You pay for insurance when you are healthy or have a non-totaled car knowing that at some point you may get sick or in an accident and need the high cost of those problems covered in a pinch.

Car owners who do not get in accidents pay for drivers who crash their cars. Homeowners whose homes don't burn down pay for people whose homes catch fire. And healthy people who buy health care end up paying for those who get sick.

Keeping bad drivers out of car insurance pools or healthy people out of health insurance would defeat the purpose of insurance at all. At that point, it would be so expensive to buy insurance, the need for insurance would evaporate altogether. 

Twitter had fun pointing out that premise to Ryan.

"I am creating a new fire insurance company. The premiums will be very low but you must agree that there will be no fires," Binyamin Appelbaum, a reporter for the New York Times, joked.

Better luck on that slideshow next time.

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Emily C. Singer

Emily C. Singer, née Cahn, is a senior writer for Mic covering politics. She is based in New York and can be reached at esinger@mic.com

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