MIKE HUCKABEE’S CALLOUSNESS IS A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION…. The Affordable Care Act is not popular. The provisions in the Affordable Care Act tend to be quite popular.

And perhaps nothing in the health care law enjoys quite as much support as protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. If you followed the policy debate, you probably remember the issue — millions of Americans can’t qualify for coverage, or can’t afford insurance at exorbitant rates, because insurance companies openly discriminate against those who’ve been sick. Those with pre-existing conditions, and often their family, are simply left behind, one serious ailment away from financial ruin.

Republicans, in no uncertain terms, considered this perfectly acceptable; Democrats did not. The law — which the GOP intends to shut down the government over in order to kill — gives protections to those with pre-existing conditions, and polls show overwhelming public support. This week, a NYT/CBS poll found that 40% of the public supports getting rid of the new law, but when told about this one provision that would disappear, support for repeal dropped to 19%.

Speaking today at the Values Voter Summit in D.C., arguably the nation’s largest annual religious right gathering, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) said Americans are just wrong about this.

“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.”

Oh, conservative humor is just so droll, isn’t it?

What I’d really like is for Mike Huckabee to talk to a family in which a woman had breast cancer. It’s in remission now, and her prognosis is good, but the family wasn’t able to get coverage they could afford, because insurers don’t want to sell insurance to those with pre-existing conditions.

I’d like Mike Huckabee to look those folks in the eye and explain that they don’t deserve new protections, and President Obama was wrong to give those protections to them. I’d like Mike Huckabee, the alleged champion of “family values,” to tell them that their family could get affordable coverage, but it runs counter to his notion of a “common sense perspective.”

Go ahead, Mike, give it a try. See if they think your charming metaphor is amusing. See if they think their plight is worthy of mockery.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.