President Donald Trump directly lied to the American people during his Oval Office address about the coronavirus on Wednesday night when he claimed that insurance companies are waving co-pays for treatment of the virus, which is expensive.

Over 1,000 cases of the coronavirus have been reported in the United States and over 35 people have died. The outbreak has reached 34 states as parades and other events are canceled. The NBA has even suspended the rest of the season in response to a player contracting the virus.

After weeks of calling the virus a hoax and insisting that it was contained, Trump delivered short remarks from the White House in which he suspended travel from Europe and once again lied about his administration’s response to the outbreak. He also assured Americans that the private insurance industry would not only cover testing for the virus, but also the treatment for it as well.

“Earlier this week, I met with the leaders of the health insurance industry who have agreed to waive all copayments for coronavirus treatments, extend insurance coverage to these treatments, and to prevent surprise medical billing,” Trump said.

It turns out, however, that Trump’s remarks surprised the insurance companies. And a representative from the lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) contradicted Trump by admitting that the insurance industry is only eliminating co-pays for testing, but has no intention of not profiting from the treatment of the virus, which is costly.

“For testing. Not for treatment,” an AHIP spokesperson told Politico reporter Sarah Owermohle.

The clarification immediately resulted in backlash because millions of Americans simply cannot afford the massive cost of treatment, meaning the insurance industry is profiting off the misery of millions of Americans in the midst of a pandemic.

If anything, the insurance industry just made it clear that we need a universal healthcare system that puts them out of business permanently. Forcing Americans to pay thousands of dollars for treatment that should be free is heartless, as is letting them die from it if they can’t afford it. This is why the pandemic will be more devastating and last much longer in the United States than in the rest of the developed world where universal healthcare systems exist.

Trump lied and insurance companies admitted it. It’s time to get a new president and a new healthcare system.

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