RUSH: We start in Omaha. This is Andrea. Great to have you with us. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Mega dittos from Omaha, heartland of America.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: And thanks for taking my call. One of the things related to the health care bill that I think has gotten very little attention but it’s frustrating millions of parents like myself with a graduating high school senior, is the student loan program. You know, this is the time of year where the students are getting their letters of acceptance and their financial aid package offers.
CALLER: And I have a letter on my desk that I have to accept or decline, you know, by the end of this week for the college that my daughter is going to here in Nebraska. And the thing is that with the changes in the student loan program, I can’t get any information on what’s going to happen. The government’s taking over as of July first. You know, here’s what we think you’re going to be eligible for in loans, and, you know, an undergraduate student can only borrow in their first year, they’re only eligible for like $5,000 in a student loan, which, when you have a tuition and room and board of upwards of over $20,000 a year doesn’t make much of a dent, even with a scholarship in the case of my daughter.
RUSH: You dare to express a lack of gratification to the Obama administration, $5,000 you sneer at?
CALLER: It’s not that I — you know, I put myself through college and graduate school. I have a Ph.D. and doctorate in pharmacy which I earned last year. I have a gazillion dollars in student loans. I am grateful that I had the chance to put myself through, but to do this at this time of year when we are all trying, you know, us parents are trying to figure this out for our kids — and, by the way, you know, the financial aid office tells you that the government, and they assume that students no longer can put themselves through college, that they will rely on the parents’ income as a big part of that formula. Well, you try to get some answers about where do you apply now. You know, we all had picked out like direct lenders we were familiar with. All that’s out —
RUSH: Wait, wait just a second here, Andrea. The Obama program doesn’t kick in ’til July first, so can’t you still go get a standard student loan from a lending institution that will soon be put out of business? I mean the government’s just going to assume those obligations once the program kicks into effect.
CALLER: Nope. Nope. No. No. Apparently not.
RUSH: Really? (laughing)
CALLER: Yeah, the other thing I heard on our local radio station that carries your show is that there’s some kind of cap now that’s imposed for families that make a hundred thousand dollars, that your kid isn’t going to be eligible for — you know they have the subsidized and unsubsidized loans, and I called Congressman Lee Terry’s office last week to try to get some answers about this, and all I got was, ‘We don’t know what was in the bill, it’s too soon, we are trying to find out. We’ll have somebody call you back.’ And of course it’s a week later, and here we are trying to get our financial aid stuff done. I know I’m not the only one out there. And here’s the thing. Am I a middle class person because I make about a hundred thousand dollars a year? I have two kids in college, and the government, you fill out their stupid FAFSA form and the government tells me that for each child I can contribute $27,000 toward their education. Okay, so if the government takes 30% of my income in taxes between state and federal and Medicare and Social Security and I’m contributing $27,000 to each child, then what am I supposed to live on, I’m wondering? But they don’t take that into account.
RUSH: Oh, yeah, food stamps.
CALLER: Yeah. (laughing) You know what, I wouldn’t take — okay, my grandmother, when she came over here from Italy in the 1900s lived on beans and dandelion leaves rather than ask people for a handout, and I’m sorry, but I —
RUSH: You know, Andrea, I love you. You have an answer for everything I’m throwing at you, and therefore you’re gonna figure this out. I have no doubt you’re going to figure this out. You’re the kind of person that’s going to figure it out. But a lot of people are not. A lot of people are going to be totally flummoxed by this. And they’re going to be left behind, just like a lot of people think they’re going to get health insurance and coverage and treatment, and they’re not, and they’re going to be left behind.
CALLER: Well, the other thing was, kudos to Senator Kent Conrad, one of my neighbors I guess over in North Dakota, who tried to pull off the Bismarck bank job and get the bank of North Dakota cut out as a special carve-out in that program —
RUSH: Well, it’s a state-run bank, it’s not a private sector bank, so that’s a giant trick.
CALLER: Yeah, well, all of this and plus the other thing is they keep saying all the savings are going to go into the Pell program. They lied, too, because the Congressional Budget Office actually took some of the savings from the government taking over the student loans and put it over on the health care side of the bill to balance out the costs. ‘Oh, we’re going to save this much in student loans and we’re going to put that on the other side of the balance sheet.’
RUSH: Why don’t you try this, why don’t you try calling whoever you’re talking to about this and assure them, even if you have to make it up, just tell ’em that you voted for Obama and you plan on voting for him in 2012, what can they do to help?
CALLER: Well, I’ll call Senator Nelson’s office with that one.
RUSH: (laughing) Do that. Do that.
CALLER: Thanks, Rush.
RUSH: Your daughter’s already getting a college education.
CALLER: I have one in college that’s finishing up and I have another one that’s going to start in the fall, and God love her, she’s got an academic scholarship and a voice scholarship, and she’s a going to work hard.
RUSH: Look, you have the mettle to figure this out, you are going to. I’ve got a story from the New York Times, what’s in the Obama new student loan proposal. It’s a primer. I’ll check it out here at the break coming up at the bottom of the hour. It appears to be actually helpful and we’ll link to it at RushLimbaugh.com. You can go there and read it and see if it does offer any assistance to you. Anyway, Andrea, thanks much for the call. I appreciate it.
RUSH: Okay, we’re back, and I have perused the New York Times story published March of 2009, a year ago, ‘What’s in the New Student Loan Proposal,’ and here’s what’s relevant. We, by the way, have linked to this now at RushLimbaugh.com. ‘Lenders: Probably the most controversial part of the proposed budget involves an issue that most students do not care about: where their loans come from.’ Now, their parents will care about that. ‘The administration wants to get rid of the federally guaranteed student loan program, called the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Under that program, banks and other companies (like Sallie Mae) have provided loans to students for years at rates set by Congress. The loans are guaranteed by the government. … Under the Obama proposal, students would borrow directly from the government. Students could still borrow from banks, but the loans would not be guaranteed and the interest rate would not be set by the government.’
So apparently you can still get a student loan. If you want to go to a bank and get a loan for a kid to go to school you can but it’s not going to be in any way guaranteed and the bank’s going to charge you whatever interest rate they can. Now, this is as of a year ago. I caution you that this provision could have been changed from the time this whole thing was written to the time it was included in the health care bill. Remember, we’re just learning now about some of the screwier things that are in the health care bill or not in it, so this could have been changed. But as of a year ago the New York Times says you don’t have to go to the government to get a loan. You can go to your bank and get a loan. It’s not going to be called a student loan. It’s gonna be a standard loan for whatever — and whatever interest rate you get, you get; whatever they charge you, they charge you; and it’s not guaranteed by the government. Otherwise you gotta go through the government to do it.
‘Loan amounts.’ The Times says ‘This is actually the more important question for students and families. The administration aims to provide borrowing options for students to make it easier to pay for college without turning to private lenders, primarily by expanding the Perkins loan program.’ So basically they’re taking $70 billion out of the private sector here, they’re administering it themselves (the administration is) and we all know why. This is to give them more control over education in the country because who can afford to go to college anymore on their own? They can’t. Almost everybody is going to have to take out a loan even if they get a scholarship — and with Obama in charge of that, you know somebody gives you money they have a large say in what you do with it. Now, ‘Currently, undergraduate students can borrow up to $4,000 a year and up to $20,000 over all through Perkins.
‘The bad news is that interest on Perkins loans would accrue while a student was in college. That is one of the ways that the government envisions paying for those Pell grant increases,’ which I haven’t discussed, but they are part of the revision here in the student loan program. One thing this story does not address is the main question that Andrea had, and that is she’s gotta respond to the college by the end of the week, but she can’t get her financing squared away ’til July first when the government takes over the program. So she doesn’t know what to do. Based on this, Andrea, the only thing you can do is go out and get a standard loan for a year or two from a bank at whatever interest rate they charge you and realize it’s not guaranteed, and then after that expires and you pay that off (if you can get such a loan) then you go into the student loan program. I think the big lesson here… There’s a huge lesson here. (interruption)
Well, yeah, they screw up everything. But that’s not the huge lesson. We know that. The huge lesson is: This is what happens when you become dependent on these people. This experience, Andrea, is already worth a college education for your daughter. This is what happens when you have to depend on the government for anything — and the point is, they’re making it impossible for most Americans not to have to depend on government. They are structuring things so that more and more Americans are going to have to depend on government at one level or many levels during the course of their lives. The real lesson here is: Don’t depend on them. Don’t get yourself in a situation where you have to have their involvement before you can get anything of any significance done, because they do screw up everything that they touch. So you can still go to a private bank, Andrea, and you can still get a loan, just as you can get a car loan or whatever you want money for.
But don’t think of it as a student loan, not guaranteed and the interest rate is not set by the government. The bank gets to set that, charge you whatever they want. All the reform did was take away the federal money from private banks. So, you know, federal money was given to banks, banks loan the money, Congress guaranteed it, Congress set the rates. That’s all changed. Federal money doesn’t go to the banks anymore. So you can still try to get your own loan by the end of the week for at least the first year, first two years. Under the new law, private banks will no longer handle federally backed student loans. So if you go get a bank loan… As I’ve been saying, if you get a loan from the bank it will not be federally backed, which is important to some people. But (sigh) in the end it may be better because you’re not tied to the government in any way, shape, manner, or form to the money.
RUSH: Here’s Eric, Pensacola, Florida, great to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you doing?
RUSH: Very well thanks.
CALLER: Yeah, Rush, I was really troubled by some things on the funding for the school loan program, and it didn’t make any sense to me, so I started delving into it a little bit. I’m an attorney so I looked at the law itself. And it appears to me that it’s tied to a provision dealing with the National Health Service Corps, which I think some people talked a little bit about, and basically what it does by putting the federal government in control of student loans, in combination with the National Health Service Corps provision, which I can tell you a little bit about, it’s basically going to put the federal government in at least nominal control over the funding for medical school training. The existing National Health Service Corps is basically the recruiting arm of the surgeon general’s uniform health services.
CALLER: And it’s basically a way to fund doctors and other health professionals who go through their initial training and they incur a service obligation a lot like, you know, military officers, flight training, that kind of thing. That can be anywhere from six years, ten years, or basically anything that the secretary can —
RUSH: Right. Yeah, anything at the secretary’s discretion. It’s in there over a thousand times in this bill. So it’s like if you graduate from a military academy, you owe ’em four years.
CALLER: Exactly. But it’s a minimum of six, and it can be as much as the basic specialty —
RUSH: Yeah, pretty soon they’re going to be able to tell you where you have to go.
CALLER: Well, it’s deeper than that because by the federal government becoming a monopolist lender for medical schools — now, there may be Yales or Harvards or Princetons or whatever that have, you know, their own endowments to fund their own, but they’re going to be a vast minority, most of the medical school training is going to be funded by the federal government, which then is going to be able to either lean on or dictate the curriculum in medical schools, and ultimately you’re going to have a government-trained doctor who’s gonna then be a government —
RUSH: Hold on, hold on. I gotta take a break, but I don’t want to get rid of you yet. Just hang on.
RUSH: We now rejoin our caller, a lawyer, an attorney from Pensacola who has read the student loan provision of the health care bill and gave us a little bit of a profile or preview of what’s in it. Let me just sum up what you said. I’ve got a couple sections of it here myself. I did this during the break. Now, what I found was in exchange for two to four years of service in a National Health Service Corps approved site in a health professional shortage area of greatest need, tuition fees, other reasonable education costs and living stipends, student training will all be paid for. So they’re already telling doctors where they’re going to go if they accept loan money from this program.
CALLER: That’s right. What it is is an existing program which has a number cap on it, there’s only a few people that can go through it, basically is a recruiting tool for the National Health Service under the Surgeon General. The uniformed guys look like Navy guys. But what this legislation does is it removes that cap entirely. And to emphasize how important it is to their program, it’s one of the few provisions of the bill that has dedicated funding in this law. It runs over about seven or eight-year period. I don’t have it in front of, me but it runs from about $350 million in funding this coming fiscal year through like $1.2 billion in funding and escalating over that period, seven or eight years out.
RUSH: Okay, so the upshot of this is what?
CALLER: The upshot is if they’re going to fund all the student loans and have the ability to leverage funding over both the students, they’ll have a dedicated personnel source for their community health care clinics and moreover they’ll be able to leverage that funding in terms of controlling the curriculum and moreover the specialties of the numbers of people who are trained in specialties in medical schools.
RUSH: Meaning, in all practical purposes — (crosstalk)
CALLER: — cardiologists or whoever.
RUSH: Well, yeah. But the bottom line here is that the vast majority of medical students cannot pay for all of the years of medical education themselves, they’re going to have to take out student loans. The student loan program now runs through the government. When you do that you are accepting an obligation made to the government that they can put you wherever they want you and put you in whatever specialty they want you in exchange for funding your education.
CALLER: Exactly right, it’s basically the Cuban model, and it’s in this bill.
RUSH: And that’s something that has gotten very little attention. I did spend some time looking it up during the break. Eric, thanks much for holding on and summing this up. I really appreciate it. ‘The National Health Service Corps,’ or as Obama would say, ‘corpse,’ which is what Eric’s talking about here, ‘loan repayment program provides $50,000 or the outstanding balance of qualifying student loans if it’s less than $50,000, tax-free to primary care medical, dental, and mental health clinicians in exchange for two years of service at an approved site in a health professional shortage area. Upon completion of the service commitment, clinicians may be eligible to apply for National Health Service Corps additional support for extended service. That’s how you pay off your student loan, become a doctor. And as I pointed out just moments ago, the number of years required to become a doctor are such that very few can pay for it themselves.
Almost everybody’s going to have to go through the student loan program, unless they want to go to a bank. You can still do that. You can still go to a bank and not have any of these federal obligations. You need equity, something collateral for the loan, there’s no question, so most people are going to have to go to the government-run loan program. Doctors and nondoctors, students of any education are going to have to go to the government plan. If you’re going to be a doctor, it does appear in this bill, we’re looking at the paragraphs even now to back up what Eric said here on the phone, that you are going to be required to pay off your loan not just financially, but also by certain numbers of years of service, up to six, in what are called health professional shortage areas, HPSAs. I wonder how many people know this.
Drudge already has a story up here: ‘US Faces Severe Doctor Shortage.’ And there’s a Wall Street Journal piece on this today, maybe the same thing. The Doctor shortage exists now, more and more doctors are deciding to get out of the program. We heard a couple call yesterday. And if the program does indeed insure all these 32 million that aren’t insured, even if it takes to 2019 to do it, by definition, if you don’t have more doctors into the system by then we’re going to have a doctor shortage. So every day we learn something about this bill that just screams, ‘Repeal, repeal, repeal.’ And Obama I think is gonna ratchet this up. He’s put money into this, directly into the program. It’s directly funded. It’s even mentioned, as Eric pointed out, Cuban doctors now say they are slaves. Remember the story we had not long ago of these Cuban doctors that defected? More and more Cuban doctors are defecting and this is why, because they work at the pleasure of the Castro regime. And future doctors in this country apparently are going to be working at the pleasure of the Obama regime because they’re going to have no choice but than to accept loans from the regime. It’s that simple.
RUSH: This is Louise in Pittsburgh. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Rush, it’s a great honor to talk to you, and thank you for all you do —
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: — for the American people.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I heard the attorney just a few moments ago. As a physician — my husband and I are both physicians — in radiology, I’m in one of the most litigious areas of radiology which is diagnosing breast cancer. My thoughts on this Obamacare bill is that one of the ultimate goals is to get everybody on some kind of government program so that they can lower our salaries and also therefore they won’t have to worry about tort reform because then all the doctors will be government employees and you won’t be allowed to sue them.
CALLER: So along with having the trial lawyers in their back pocket, which we all know what a big donor they are to the Democrat Party —
CALLER: — I’m, you know, wanting physicians to get more active. I know there are several groups, there’s a large group in New Jersey. It’s about a 1,500-member group that is suing to try to block the Obamacare. But, you know, if people are worried about being able to sue their doctors — not that I’m in favor of that because there’s a lot of defensive medicine that’s out there, and you know that 99% of doctors practice defensive medicine and the 1% that don’t are probably lying because it’s a scary business, unfortunately.
RUSH: (laughing) I know. Look, I’ve experienced it myself. Test after test after test just to make sure that some insurance company doesn’t come after ’em or some lawyer.
CALLER: There are people, and there are ways to have people’s grievances addressed when the true problems rise. But what’s going to happen is they’re gonna turn doctors into state employees, and then you won’t be allowed to sue a doctor if there is a problem because they’ll only be making a quarter of a salary anyway and be a government employee.
RUSH: Yeah. You can’t sue the government.
CALLER: Yeah. So I’m just waiting for that to head around the corner.
RUSH: I know. You know, people ask me — and I check my e-mail frequently here during the course of the busy broadcast day. Every time I say that there is going to be a doctor shortage and there will be fewer doctors, the spam e-mailers and the seminar e-mailers: ‘What do you mean, fewer doctors? You’re just full of all kinds of horror stories! You’re just trying to scare people. Why would Obama want fewer doctors?’ I’m not saying Obama wants fewer doctors. I’m saying Obama doesn’t have the hell of an idea what he’s doing here. He thinks that the golden goose is always going to be golden. It’s always going to be laying golden eggs that he can grab. He doesn’t understand that Margaret Thatcher said: ‘Socialism is great until you run outta everybody else’s money,’ and then you’ve got a big problem. Why would there be fewer doctors?
They’re going to be paid less. They’re going to be working in a field forced on them in years where they don’t want to be. It’s in the health care bill, in the subset that’s called the student loan program. The student loan program will be taken over totally by Obama starting July first. Everybody going to med school is going to have to go to the government to get their student loan, and it’s going to be just like going to a military academy. In addition to paying for it, you owe them four years of service when you graduate. Not that that’s bad, don’t misunderstand. But in this case, you’re gonna owe Obama the first six years of your career and you’re going to have to practice where they send you. And they’re obviously going to send people to areas where doctors are not locating on their own. Guess where those areas are going to be? That’s the price that future doctors are going to have pay in order for the government to fund their education.
RUSH: Darren in Tampa, great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: It’s truly an honor, Rush, to speak with you today. I call you a patriot.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: You know, this student loan mess, there may be actually a silver lining in that that we don’t recognize, and sometimes that’s what happens with these liberal agendas that come along. They backfire on them because the liberals don’t understand the American people. I think that the harder it is to get into college or the harder it is to pay for college, especially when the government attaches their name to student loans, the less kids are going to want to go. The harder it’s going to be for parents to get their kids to want to go. I mean, who wants to have to jump through hoops with anything that has the government’s name on it? Everybody complains about everything from the post office on the driver’s license bureau or whatever. It’s impossible. Now, of course there’s obvious benefits to maybe not having as much of a college-educated populace. I think that a lot of people say that, you know, we’re not educated enough. But I would contend that we are overeducated, and I don’t really see how anyone can get through the typical institution of higher learning and not come out totally liberal or at least messed up. You know, on the other hand —
RUSH: Well, I understand that totally. I was going to jump in here because of the constraints of time. You say ‘overeducated,’ I would say mal-educated or ill-educated. I mean they’re educated, they’re just taught lies. They’re taught a bunch of drivel. But I’ll tell you something. The notion that people are going to not want to go to college because they gotta go through the government to get there, I don’t know. It’s so embedded in people’s minds that you have no chance in life if you don’t go to college, that’s going to be a tough one. I don’t know if you’re going to be right about that. It could be, though, because the American people are resourceful. You’re right. Liberals never do properly predict the consequences of their actions.