RUSH: It's not looking good out there for those of you with preexisting conditions in Obamacare. This comes from the Associated Press: "Citing financial concerns, the [regime] has begun quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president's health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can't get private insurance." The plan hasn't even been fully implemented, and they're already "quietly winding down" coverage for people with preexisting conditions.
This is one of the primary aspects of this bill that garnered support from all of the low-information voter voters. You know, a lot of people are single-issue people: Abortion or immigration or what have you. And on health care, there are a lot of single-issue people: preexisting conditions. What those people want is actually not insurance. They want a welfare benefit. It's not insurance if you can buy the insurance after you get the disease. It's not insurance if you can buy insurance after you wreck the car! It's not insurance if you buy insurance and get coverage after you burned your house down.
Well, it's not insurance if you get the disease and then they sell you a policy because they have to. It's something else. But that didn't matter. That distinction didn't matter. All that was heard was was that Obama was gonna make those mean, incentive, unfeeling insurance companies insure people with preexisting conditions, because those mean insurance companies are not gonna insure somebody that already has a disease that's costly and perhaps terminal. "That isn't fair! That isn't right! Everybody else's insurance and coverage is being paid for. Why not mine just because I have the disease?"
So Obama and the Democrats, they rose to the occasion, and they promised there would be coverage and treatment for people with preexisting conditions. Here's this headline, and this is from Saturday. That's when I printed this out. Saturday of the Presidents Day weekend, when Obama's playing golf, it's reported: "Obama Administration Winds Down Plan for Uninsurables." Here the story: "Citing financial concerns," for you low-information voters, that means they're out of money, "the [regime] has begun quietly winding down one of the earliest programs created by the president's health care overhaul, a plan that helps people with medical problems who can't get private insurance.
"In an afternoon teleconference with state counterparts, [regime] officials said Friday the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan will stop taking new applications. People already in the plan will not lose coverage," supposedly. But if you haven't signed up, you are SOL. "Designed as a stopgap solution until the law's full consumer protections are in effect next year, PCIP has served more than 135,000 people, a lifeline for patients with serious medical problems such as cancer and heart failure. But Congress allocated a limited amount of money, and the administration's technical experts want to make sure it doesn't run out. Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt said PCIP has 'provided needed security to some of our nation's sickest people.'
"The plan covers people who have had problems getting private insurance because of a medical condition and have been uninsured for at least six months. Premiums are keyed to average rates charged in each state, which means they're not necessarily cheap," but at least you can get it, "often amounting to several hundred dollars a month for middle-aged individuals." Anyway, the money's gone. Now, this is not to say that when Obamacare is fully implemented in the next year or two that it won't be back. But what good does that do you now?
'Cause I guarantee you everybody with a preexisting condition thought they were gonna be covered now. And if you haven't signed up, you're SOL. But once again don't expect this to be tied to Obama. Once again, this is some bureaucracy. Remember, Obama does not govern. He campaigns. So this is some government bureaucracy which has decided to torpedo the president's brave plan. Obama, if he wants to, can go out and campaign against this. Even though it's his plan that has run out of money, and it's his plan freezing people out. His name's not in story.
This is made to order.
He's out there campaigning as though we still don't have Obamacare. He can go out there and talk about people still being shafted by the insurance companies. Insurance companies still won't cover people despite all this effort that he and his administration have committed to. So they're gonna have to double down and do even more. "Dastardly Republicans and who knows who else is denying these people what they were assured they were gonna get!" That's how this works, and yet it's his plan that is out of money. It's his Department of Health and Human Services that is winding down the program.
It's his department saying, "Sorry, we're filled up here. We're not taking any more applicants." Here's another version of the story: "Tens of thousands of Americans who cannot get health insurance because of preexisting medical problems will be blocked from a program designed to help them because funding is running low. Obama administration officials said Friday that the state-based 'high-risk pools' set up under the 2010 health-care law will be closed to new applicants as soon as [this past] Saturday and no later than March 2, depending on the state. But they stressed that coverage for about 100,000 people who are now enrolled in the high-risk pools will not be affected."
Now, I remember when they opened up this program. We made a big deal here out of how few people actually did sign up at first, because all during the run-up to this, people who had preexisting conditions were thought to represent a majority of the sick. That was part of the sales job on this program. "A majority of people already have a disease and they can't get covered and that's why we need Obamacare! There are a lot of people being screwed by the insurance industry 'cause the insurance industry doesn't care about people. Not like Obama does! They're just a bunch of conservative Republicans.
"All they care about is profit, and they won't ensure these people who are gonna die. Well, that isn't right," and they make a big hullabaloo deal with it, and then when it opened up, this high-risk pool plan, the number of applicants was tiny at first. They had to go out and sell it, like they sell the food stamp program. So now they've got it filled up with a hundred thousand people, so they've shut it down. It's out of money. Yet they made it sound like the vast majority of people in this country who were being screwed, were people who had preexisting conditions. So out of, what, how many, 300 million people, a hundred thousand in the high-risk pool, or uninsured preexisting condition pool.
In related health care news, Obama's health exchange deadline has passed. "The backbone of President Obama's health care law is taking shape, with 26 states choosing to let the federal government run the online insurance markets mandated by [Obamacare] instead of keeping the job in-house or partnering with the feds. The Department of Health and Human Services had encouraged states to run their own markets, or 'exchanges,' that help the uninsured find coverage." In fact, they were required to. They had to sign up by a certain date.
If they didn't, then, "Oh, no! What are we gonna do?" because the law at the time it was written did not give the federal government the right, the power, or the ability to set up a state-run exchange. This is where you're gonna have to go to get insurance at some point once they succeed in closing down the private health insurance market. These state exchanges are where we're gonna have to go. But there are states that said no. Twenty-six states have said yes. The others have said no. The states that said no to this have now forced the federal government to do the job that they were trying to get the states to do.
Part of this was passing costs on to state governments, and this was done on paper so as to keep the original so-called cost of Obamacare down and under a trillion dollars. So they shifted new Medicare spending to the states, new Medicaid spending to the states, and these exchanges. It was gonna be federal health insurance, but the states were gonna have to run the offices where people signed up. Well, not every state opted in. So now the Feds have to do it -- and the Feds, the regime does not have the money. They do not have the infrastructure, and they don't have the personnel to do it.
I'm gonna tell you right now that this Obamacare business is... I'm telling you, it was written as a utopian wet dream years ago and it was stashed away in some drawer. Copies of it were all over Washington. But this has been their dream. The left has had this dream of single-payer, national health care forever. They wrote it, and they added to it, and it kept growing and it ended up 2700 pages. I guarantee you, this bill was not written after Obama was elected. This bill's been gathering dust. So Obama gets elected and this bill finally gets signed into law, and it's had so many people contributing to it that nobody fully knows what this law does.
This law is going to collapse on itself, if it doesn't get full-fledged resources of the states, and it's not going to have those. This law mandates things that the federal government has no idea yet are mandated, because not everybody has studied this thing. It's gonna require expenditures that nobody's aware of yet. We don't have the money for any of this! This thing is a time bomb waiting to blow up out there, and it's gonna blow up. I'll tell you when it's gonna blow. I just know what's going to happen. It's gonna blow up when there are very few, if any, options left in the private insurance market. And by then, it's gonna be too late.
RUSH: We have somebody in the high-risk pool program, the preexisting condition pool. Brendan in Seattle, it's great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Thanks for talking with me, Rush. As soon as I heard you say that, I knew I had to call. Yes, I'm in the PCIP program. Two years ago, shortly before it started -- certainly after it started -- I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and various medical bills ensued, of course. I was an uninsured, self-employed landscaper. So I took up the Obamacare offer because it was my only option at the time. My insurance started at $498 a month. That's was it. That's what it was last year. This year, at the beginning of the year, it went up to $625 a month.
RUSH: What are you getting for this? You getting full treatment, everything you need to battle the disease?
CALLER: No, not full treatment. I have a high deductible, and then I have so much I could pay out of pocket. The deductible is $2,900, and the out-of-pocket total is around $5,400, and then after that they cover everything.
RUSH: Wait a second. Wait. Now, I just want to be clear, because I remember during the sales period, the sales effort for Obamacare -- and particularly the run-up to the preexisting condition provision -- the impression that was left was that, A, people like you were being given the shaft by an unfair and insensitive insurance industry but that this was gonna fix it. You were finally going to get your insurance and you were going to be covered, and the implication was that you were not gonna be out of pocket much, if anything at all. But now you are. So your treatment is limited to how much you are able to afford yourself even with the federal program? Is that right? Do I understand you correctly?
CALLER: Well, it's limited. Like I say, a maximum out of pocket up to $5,400, then they will cover everything else -- and everything else is, of course, expensive. Ironically, I was not in favor of this program. I did not know I had a disease. But I was not in favor of the program. But, oddly enough, I had to swallow my pride a little bit and go in because it saved my bacon, and then I heard you, and that frightened me. I don't like the government a whole lot anyway, so I just want to make it clear that it isn't necessarily free as it is. So if they're running out of money, they're only gonna be charging me more if they don't pick me up. That's what I think.
RUSH: That's true.
RUSH: Now, this preexisting condition/uninsured program is not... I want to be clear here. This is not the full-fledged, "Katie, bar the door " program in Obamacare. This was a bridge program to get everybody covered until the full implementation of Obamacare. The salesmanship on this, I distinctly recall, focused on uninsured people because of preexisting conditions and clearly left the impression that that was a majority of the uninsured and that was evidence of the insensitive, unfeeling, mean people in the private sector health insurance industry.
So naturally people with big hearts and compassion (i.e., Democrats) would come to the rescue and save the day. But in truth... Look, I know this is a losing argument but, sorry, I'm a stickler for truth. You know, I'm the mayor of Realville. We're not even talking insurance here. I know that doesn't matter to people with preexisting conditions, and I know it's not a winning argument. I'm not even trying to make it to change people's minds. I know that it's not going to. But it still rubs me the wrong way. This is how we end up losing people. This is how we end up losing touch with the traditions and institutions of the founding, the things that are gonna preserve this country.
If we lose the language, you know, we lose everything. This is not "insurance," it's a welfare plan, and had it been presented that way, it might not have passed. The only way this was gonna really see the light of day is if it had an enemy, if it had a demon -- and, of course, that was gonna be the private sector insurance business. But I'm telling you, I want you to put yourself in their shoes. You start an insurance business, and what is that? It's nothing more than people betting that what they have is gonna survive, but they're taking out insurance in case it doesn't, be it their house burning up, or stuff being stolen, or their car being damaged in a wreck or whatever.
But you buy the insurance, and there are a lot of factors, and everybody knows this. "Are you high risk? Are you low risk? Have you ever filed a claim?" All those things go into the mix. The one thing you've never been able to do is go get insurance after you wreck the car. You've never been able to get insurance after the house has burned down. You don't get to play the game that way. You have to pay for the eventuality in advance. You have to take the risk. That's part of the game. Well, young people particularly think, "Ah, I'm never gonna get sick! I'm not gonna have a catastrophic disease. I'm young."
So they opt out of any insurance.
Then, all of a sudden, disaster hits. They're diagnosed with something and they don't have any insurance, and then that automatically becomes somebody else's fault. It's an easy sell for the libs and anybody else to come along and start demonizing whoever it is that's not providing money for those people to be treated. Because we are a compassionate people, we understand that nobody's got the money themselves to pay for health care costs of this nature, and so we all agree that "somebody" should do it. We just don't ever stop to think that it's us, but it always is us. So I know it's a losing argument to say that this isn't insurance. It's a welfare program.
I understand that, and I'm not trying to accomplish anything other than remain true to my oft-held truism that words mean things. But in this case, the preexisting condition aspect was sold as a panacea. It was sold as, "Finally a savior is coming along and getting even with these mean people, whoever they are (mostly Republicans) in the insurance industry who don't have any heart, they don't have any compassion, and they don't care about you. So we're gonna have to make 'em pay, even though they don't care." That's how it was sold, and everybody applauded it, and what we were told was that this bridge...
See, Obamacare was signed into law in 2010, but it was never gonna be fully implemented until 2014 or 2015 for a bunch of reasons that I've also gone through. I don't want to waste time being redundant here, but it's a ten-year plan. The tax increases start immediately, but the benefits don't start for four years because if they started the benefits immediately then it woulda cost much more than what they said it was gonna cost, and it woulda never passed. So they had to play accounting games. They had promised coverage for people with preexisting conditions, but that's not gonna happen 'til 2014.
So they came up with this bridge plan that allocated money for people to go into what were called high-risk pools. That was what became the euphemism for people with preexisting conditions. This bridge program was set up in 2010, and it was supposed to last until 2014 when Obamacare fully implements. It didn't even make it halfway there. It's already out of money, and there's still a year and a half to go before this aspect of Obamacare fully implements, or close to it. Now, let's take this guy who called. He said, until he had the condition, he understood what I was saying, and didn't support it.
But he didn't have insurance when he was diagnosed prostate cancer, and so he was happy to have access to the program, and that's how they make it work, and I totally understand it. I'm not trying to talk him into giving up the coverage. I'm not doing anything of the sort. I don't want anybody misunderstand me. I know. What's getting us here is that we are a compassionate country, and we will all agree that somebody ought to pay for people when they can't pay. But if somebody came to us and demanded we write the check for it, it'd never happen.
Like, imagine if our last caller had the same thing happen but somebody from the government called you and said, "We need $250 from you for so-and-so's treatment for prostate cancer."
You'd say, "What are you talking about? The government's paying for that!"
Well, who do you think 'government' is? It's all of us. So we need $250 from you."
They don't, obviously, do that. They just take it from you when you're not looking, and you think all the while that somebody else is paying for it -- and you feel good about yourself for supporting it, for being compassionate. But still, look at what it ended up being. The guy had deductibles that I think he said were five or six thousand dollars a year. This is to get the full treatment. He was paying $600 a month. So, if I heard him right, this was costing him something like $13,000 a year. I guarantee you most people that signed up for this program didn't think they were gonna be paying that much.
So now we see how good the federal government is at running insurance programs. They were gonna show big business how it should be done. They were gonna go show private insurance how it should be done. "This is how you do it with compassion! This is how you do it with a big heart!" This money's now gone. They spent this all. They don't have the money. This program is now winding down. There's no room for anybody else, so there's some people out there now with preexisting conditions who cannot get coverage and cannot get treatment until Obamacare fully implements, and I don't want to be a naysayer but the bureaucracy of this is gonna be such that, man...
I can't tell you how I feel for those of you who are gonna have to sign up at an exchange or some bureaucratic department for health care. (interruption) Well, now, Snerdley just said, "If they don't have the money now, how are they gonna have it when Obamacare fully kicks in?" They only allocated a certain amount of money for the bridge in the law. I guess they could go back and pass a new rider to the bill which would add money to the plan, but a different funding mechanism takes place when there's full implementation. We don't have the money for anything we're doing now.
I mean, the right answer is: We don't have the money for anything! Now we haven't had the money for ten years. We're not gonna have the money next year. We are $16 trillion, $17 trillion in debt. So it's almost a trick question, but the program the program ended Saturday. They say it's "winding down" in the AP, but it ended. So the guy had $6,000 out of pocket, plus $600 times 12 months for his premium of $7200. That's $13,200 a year if I heard him right. There are other things he's not paying for, but that's his share of it.
Now he's worried because he's heard that the bridge program's out of money. He's cool because he's still in the program, but there are no new applicants being taken. He's right to be concerned what's gonna happen to him at full implementation, and there's nobody who knows right now. That's the thing. There's nobody who knows. You know, I could be really honest, and it would serve no purpose to be honest. It would serve no purpose for me to say what I want to say next, so I probably shouldn't say it.