RUSH: Now to the health care stack. ‘Health Care Overhaul Will Not Stop Premium Increases.’ LA Times. Ladies and gentlemen, none of this will come as a surprise to you or to me. But it is a surprise to most of the advocates of Obamacare. ‘The new law doesn’t prevent rate hikes such as Anthem Blue Cross’ double-digit increase last year,’ and, remember, Obama is still running around trying to sell his health care plan by pointing out the Anthem Blue Cross 39% rate increase and that it’s not going to happen anymore. ‘We put controls on them! They’re not going to be able to do that. They’re going to go through our commission and we’re not going to let ’em do that. We’re going to make sure it doesn’t happen.’ Guess what? The law doesn’t prevent these rate hikes.
”It is a very big loophole,’ says Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is pushing regulatory legislation to correct the error. Public outrage over double-digit rate hikes for health insurance may have helped push President Obama’s healthcare overhaul across the finish line…’ That’s not what did it. Bribes, backroom deals, pretending the Constitution didn’t exist. That’s what pushed the health care bill over the finish line. What is this? The double-digit increases Anthem Blue Cross did not move public opinion in favor of the health care bill? Who wrote this? Noam Levey, another incompetent disguised as a journalist in government-controlled media. ‘Public outrage over double-digit…’? The public outrage is over the passage of this debacle — and it’s increasing, Noam — and the public outrage is because of how it happened. As I mentioned: Bribes, backroom deals, the kind of thing that you’d be writing a story putting the Anthem Blue Cross CEO in jail if he had done similar things running his business.
If the Anthem Blue Cross CEO had done anything remotely like what Harry Reid did or Pelosi or Obama, you would be demanding jail and a life sentence if not the death penalty. In the meantime, you applaud Obama for governing against the will of the people, and you praise Obama and all these Democrats for a great bill and claim that it was outrage over the double-digit rate increase at Anthem Blue Cross that pushed the bill over the line. Fraud, deceit, and near criminal activity got this bill over the line, and all these Democrats that voted for it are now quitting, retiring, resigning, or switching parties so as not to have to pay the price. Now, Mr. Levey writes, ‘[T]he new law does not give regulators the power to block similar increases in the future.’ Well, now, wait a minute, folks. I thought the whole thing was about insurance reform.
You know, it changed, it metamorphosed, it evolved. It evolved during the course of its lifespan. It started out, ‘We’re going to reform the health care system,’ and then, ‘We’re going to reform the insurance industry: Health insurance reform,’ and yet ‘the new law does not give regulators the power to block double-digit rate increases. And now, with some major companies already moving to boost premiums and others poised to follow suit, millions of Americans may feel an unexpected jolt in the pocketbook.’ Well, that may be true for certain millions of Americans who have been misled by people like the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times — and CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS, Newsweek, and — who all reported this health care bill was a panacea! How else do you explain people showing up the next day wanting free health care from the doctor or hospital?
‘What do you mean I don’t qualify? They signed the bill yesterday. I want my free MRI!’
‘Uh, no. You don’t qualify.’
‘When will I?’
‘Oh, we don’t really know.’
The fact is, you won’t. Health care is gonna become less. It’s gonna become scarce. It’s gonna become rationed. The intelligent among us, all of this audience and even more, understood — and that’s one of the reasons why the tea party exists — if you must cover everyone and everything, you must raise premiums. If you’re going to enroll 32 million more people, two things are going to happen at least: Premiums are going to go up and we’re going to have a doctor shortage. Pure and simple. It’s not a ‘loophole.’ It’s business! What is this loophole? Allowing double-digit rate increases? It’s called business! It’s how private sector capitalism works. It’s called supply and demand. ‘Although Democrats promised greater consumer protection, the overhaul does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases.’
Now, ask yourselves a question: ‘Why not?’ They said that it did. They said it was gonna lower the deficit. The only way to avoid bankrupting the country was to pass this bill. ‘It’s gonna lower costs, it’s gonna expand access to coverage, and we’re going to reform these evil insurance companies and we’re going to make sure they don’t screw you with double-digit rate increases,’ and yet: ‘[T]he bill does not give the federal government broad regulatory power to prevent increases’? I want you to think about that for a minute during the break. How can that be? How can that be? With all that these politicians were saying about it on the Democrat side, how did that not happen? How did they fail? Why did they fail to give themselves or the administration the power to regulate evil, Big Health Insurance?
RUSH: More from the LA Times story on the shock, discovering there’s no way to stop double digit rate increases in health insurance. ‘At least in the short term, regulators will be able to do little more than require insurers to publicly explain why they want to raise rates,’ which is going to require a lesson in economics, which is all good. Why doesn’t Obama just sign an executive order banning the laws of economics? He’ll do it with anything else. ‘Consumer advocates think that will not be an effective deterrent against premium increases such as the 39% hike that Anthem Blue Cross. … The lack of muscle [in the bill] is stoking concerns that more rate jumps — and an angry backlash from ratepayers — could undermine support for implementing the healthcare overhaul.’ Oh, yeah, it’s a tragedy out there. Oh, my, what are we going to do? After all of this, after all the bashing of the insurance companies, after all the promises that these kinds of rate increases will never, ever again happen, there’s nothing in the bill to stop them.
Obama said people are gonna get excited when they found out what was in the bill. Pelosi said we had to pass the bill so people find out what’s in it. Didn’t Feinstein read the bill? And what about Obama? Does he ever have to answer any questions about the huge screw ups in this bill? No. He’s never asked about them. The next story: ‘Baffled by New Health Plan? Some Lawmakers Also Seem None Too Clear.’ This is a New York Times story, an investigative story that’s just perfect for the Times. They do all the investigating after the deed’s done rather than doing all the investigating to prevent the bad deed from being done. You know what they have discovered in the health care bill? Folks, this story is actually one of the best, greatest, most wonderful, funny, deserving, delicious news stories I’ve ever read, and it’s a bonus that it’s in the New York Times.
Congress wrote a law, Obama signed it, that — wait for it, wait for it — kicks Congress out of the Federal Employees Health Program. I’m not kidding you! You’ve heard Obama say that he wants to give every citizen access to health care that every member of Congress has. What’s happened is Congress has lost its access. They have to go on whatever public plan we all have to go on. It’s in the bill. Nobody knew it until it was passed. There is a God. There is a God in heaven. He has a fabulous sense of humor.
RUSH: Say, have you thought about the question I asked, ‘Why did they not put something in this bill to stop double digit rate increase?’ Have you thought about it? I’ll give you a pretty good possibility. They want these rate increases. They want Anthem Blue Cross to be raising 39%, 40%. They want to be able to say, ‘See? We tried to control these people, but they are so greedy, even with this massive bill they’re trying to screw the American people.’ This is about further discrediting the private sector health insurance company and eventually pushing everybody toward a public option, the government as the savior against high prices. Possibility? What do you think?
RUSH: Now, look: If the New York Times is right — and who are we to doubt them? (Ahem.) If Congress is not covered by their current insurance plan, doesn’t that mean that they don’t get to keep the plan that they like? Obama ran around and said, ‘You like the plan you’re in, you like the doctor, you can keep it!’ But somehow, Congress has just lost its own health care plan in the health care bill.
You notice how these politicians who voted for this health care law now act like they had nothing to do with it? They act like they’re spectators and they’re outraged over how this happened! Feinstein is wondering, ‘How in the world is there no control mechanism in there to prevent double-digit rate increases by health insurance companies?’ Did you not read the bill, Senator Feinstein? You voted for it. They all get to act like spectators. They didn’t know this about it; they didn’t know that about it. You see how they play this game, folks? They talk about what was supposed to be and they talk about what is going to be, they never want any accountability for what is. Obama never has to answer any questions about the huge screw ups in his bill or anything else that he does. Folks, look, it’s a serious question here.
If Congress is not covered by their current insurance plan, who’s gonna pay for Harry Reid’s hemorrhoid surgery? And I say that only because he looks like he’s running around in pain. He’s either constipated or has hemorrhoids because he looks like he’s got that kind of pain every day. Here’s the story. It’s too delicious. ‘Baffled by Health Plan? So are Some Lawmakers,’ Robert Pear, the New York Times. ‘It is often said that the new health care law will affect almost every American in some way.’ Who said that? Who said that other than us? ‘In a new report, the Congressional Research Service says the law may have significant unintended consequences for the ‘personal health insurance coverage’ of senators, representatives and their staff members.
‘For example, it says, the law may ‘remove members of Congress and Congressional staff’ from their current coverage, in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, before any alternatives are available. The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?’ Well, where in the hell has that question been? This is exactly my point. They do this investigative stuff after the fact and they’ll get a Pulitzer for this. Where was this question before the vote took place? Where has this question been for a whole year? Of course they didn’t know! This was not about health care, Mr. Pear. Doesn’t this now make it obvious, this is not about health care reform?
This is about control. This is about winning. They’re worried about all these details later. This is an amazing paragraph. ‘The confusion raises the inevitable question: If they did not know exactly what they were doing to themselves, did lawmakers who wrote and passed the bill fully grasp the details of how it would influence the lives of other Americans?’ Hell, no! All they knew was they were gaining more federal control over people’s lives, and they’ll work about the details later. The problem is they’re going to lose their majority. They’re going to lose their working majorities in November, and the chances… I mean, we’re setting up here for a great case to be made for repeal in any number of ways. ‘The law promises that people can keep coverage they like, largely unchanged. For members of Congress and their aides, the federal employees health program offers much to like.
‘But, the report says, the men and women who wrote the law may find that the guarantee of stability does not apply to them. ‘It is unclear whether members of Congress and Congressional staff who are currently participating in [the federal program] may be able to retain this coverage,’ the research service said in an 8,100-word memorandum. And even if current members of Congress can stay in the popular program for federal employees, that option will probably not be available to newly elected lawmakers, the report says. Moreover, it says, the strictures of the new law will apply to staff members who work in the personal office of a member of Congress. But they may or may not apply to people who work on the staff of Congressional committees and in ‘leadership offices’ like those of the House speaker and the Democratic and Republican leaders and whips in the two chambers.’
Mr. Pear, we knew this. We reported this very fact numerous times before the vote. But here’s the august New York Times now just learning of it because the Congressional Research Service has just told them. ‘These seemingly technical questions will affect 535 members of Congress and thousands of Congressional employees. But the issue also has immense symbolic and political importance. Lawmakers of both parties have repeatedly said their goal is to provide all Americans with access to health insurance as good as what Congress has. Congress must now decide what steps, if any, it can take to deal with the problem. It could try for a legislative fix, or it could adopt internal policies to minimize any disruptions.’
So, folks, Joe Biden was right: ‘This is a big F—ing deal.’ I mean it is. This is why you repeal it, you abort it. The whole thing. This whole thing might have been avoided, that and the fact that ‘no mechanism to stop double-digit rate increases’ is in the bill. If there had been any transparency — if the bill had been posted for five days before the vote as Obama promised — maybe some of the State-Controlled Media would have figured this out in time. Maybe some of this could have been avoided if the bill would have been posted. It might have been avoided if Obama wasn’t the least experienced, least accomplished man to ever occupy the Oval Office. He’s the least experienced and least accomplished man in whatever room he walks into. He’s not qualified to run anything, and this proves it.
His health insurance control bill kicked Congress out of their cushy plans (laughing) and it’s all in the New York Times! Of all places, the New York Times gonna get a Pulitzer here for digging up the dirt that Obama health care kicks Congress out of their cushy plan! The Republicans better do more here than just ridicule the Democrats. They’ve got an opportunity here to reject this whole thing during the Great Recession here. Go out, buy your own insurance, rejoin the people you represent. Actions speak louder than words. Act now and bury this monster. Because this just the second or third week after passage here. Look at all the stuff that we’re sure to learn in coming weeks and days. And as this stuff continues to come out, guess what? Public opposition to the bill is gonna grow. Now, I don’t know…
You know, public opposition to Congress getting kicked out of their plan? This will not be opposed. People will support that. But it’s not going to be enough to affect the overall trend in the approval numbers in the bill, which is tanking. The people who oppose this bill as expressed in polling data is in ever increasing numbers. Now, if the Congressional Research Service can go to the trouble to figure out what this bill does to Congress, could we ask the Congressional Research Service to try to figure out what the bill does to us? It’s unclear even for the Congressional Research Service, even after careful analysis, what this all means. What internal policies can we adopt to minimize disruptions to our health care insurance? You notice the tone of this story is, ‘Oh, my gosh. This is so sad for Congress! This is so sad. What remedies does Congress have? Well, maybe they can do some internal legislation or have some minor regulations changed or maybe do a legislative fix,’ as though we’re supposed to sit here and feel sorry for them.
They screwed up their own bill and their own coverage. Nobody from the Congressional Research Service on down or up is asking: What’s in the bill for us? And things that we don’t like, things taken away from us, what can we do? What can we do to minimize disruptions to our health care insurance? Even if they had posted the bill for five days, it’s 2,074 pages. Who could have read it in five days and made any sense of it? It’s all legalese, and that’s what John Conyers even said, chairman of the judiciary committee. ‘I’m not going to read the bill. I’d need five lawyers and translators to read it. We don’t read the bills here.’ Alcee Hastings, ‘Rules? What rules? I mean, we make ’em up as we go along. There are no rules,’ and apparently there’s no common sense whatsoever in this legislation. Everything that we feared that this debacle is is slowly and surely coming to light and will soon be realized by practically everybody. Remember, these screw ups, ‘Eh, they’ll fix ’em.’ The point was to win, and the point was to gain as much control over the private sector as possible.
RUSH: Ted in Boston, welcome on the EIB Network, sir. It’s great to have you with us.
CALLER: Mega mega dittos from Boston, Rush.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: It’s nice to speak with you after all these years of listening to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: The reason I’m calling is I’m holding here in my hand is I have a notice of assessment from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. I don’t have health care insurance, and I haven’t for several years. Mitt Romney signed the health care law into effect in 2006 and it’s just now catching up to people like me who don’t have health insurance. So I just want everybody to know that if you don’t have health insurance, you’re going to get an assessment and I assume that this same thing will be going on at a national level.
RUSH: Oh. There’s no question. There’s no question. I mean, that’s part and parcel of the federal health care overhaul, if they remembered to include it in the bill. Hee-hee-hee-hee. Now, let me ask you a question about this, Ted. Have your costs come down any at all with the Massachusetts health care bill?
CALLER: Well, there was a ruling today in court about the health insurers — I believe it was against the attorney general to try to raise their rates — and they’re trying to get an injunction to raise their rates and the state fought it, and today I think the judge ruled for the state in that case.
RUSH: Really? I’ve been waiting for the outcome of this. Here’s the details on that. We had this last week. The insurance companies in Massachusetts are ‘nonprofits.’ They wanted to raise rates. The insurance companies that handle 800,000 citizens in Massachusetts, they wanted to raise rates anywhere between eight and 32%. Deval Patrick, the governor who’s running for reelection, stepped in and in his first campaign act, stood up to the insurance companies, these nonprofits (paraphrased), ‘Over my dead body! You’re not raising rates. It ain’t going to happen. Not only that, you are gonna…’ So the insurance companies stopped selling insurance. It was a losing proposition.
Deval Patrick came back and said, ‘Not only are you going to start selling insurance, you’re going to offer quotes to people at last year’s rates.’ So they sued, and we were expecting a decision yesterday. Remember? We didn’t hear anything about it yesterday. We haven’t heard anything about it yet today except from this caller who says that the court sided with the state, so that the insurance companies cannot raise their rates to meet their expenses. They are a nonprofit organization, these insurance companies are. So I don’t know where this goes now. How in the world do these people stay in business? They’re nonprofit to begin with. Ted, thanks for the heads-up on that. We’re going to do some research and see if we can find an actual news story on that.
RUSH: Well, here it is, ladies and gentlemen, from the Christian Science Monitor, and we got it from NPR, we have it from the Boston Globe: ‘A Massachusetts court Monday ruled against health insurance providers seeking to raise their premiums 8 to 32 percent in a closely watched case. Massachusetts enacted a universal healthcare plan in 2006 that includes politically controversial measures such as the individual mandate requiring all adults to purchase insurance. With opponents of the national healthcare legislation passed weeks ago promising legal action, the Massachusetts case was seen as a foretaste of what could lie ahead. In this instance, the court affirmed that, for now at least, the state has the authority to oversee the industry.’
Well, why not? I mean that’s what the whole point of the legislation was. The fact that they left this out of Obamacare is even funnier now. There is no mechanism in Obamacare to prevent double-digit rate increases. In Massachusetts there is. ‘The challenge arose from a bid by health insurance providers in Massachusetts several weeks ago to raise their premiums,’ to cover their costs. These are nonprofit companies. ‘Massachusetts Insurance commissioner Joseph Murphy called the increases ‘excessive,’ noting that the medical consumer price index — an indicator of how much medical goods and services cost — projected a necessary increase of only 5 percent. Mr. Murphy rejected 235 of 274 proposed rate hikes. Six insurance companies sued, arguing the state does not have the regulatory authority to cap premiums. They said they would lose $100 million without the premium increase, plus even more in the administrative costs of having to redesign their plans. In addition to the suit, the insurance companies filed a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from regulating their premium increases until the case is decided. They also asked for an expedited trial.
‘Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel denied the request to expedite the trial and the injunction. He said that until the health insurance companies exhausted all available administrative remedies within the state Department of Insurance, the court had no jurisdiction. Only then could the insurance companies move through the normal legal process, he said.’ No, it’s not over, but they can’t raise their rates. Who knows how long the trial’s gonna be, maybe a year. Before they can even get to the trial they gotta go through all the machinations of a government bureaucracy and explore all the options in the bureaucracy before even bringing the case to court? ‘The judge added that he wanted to avoid ‘stepping in the [insurance] commissioner’s shoes’ and revising the regulations temporarily until the later court date. Furthermore, the regulations did not cause ‘irreparable harm’ because lost profits could later be recouped, Judge Neel said.’
I would love to know how you recoup lost profits when you are a nonprofit to begin with. I want to know how you recoup lost profits. So, anyway, the judge sided with the state, and people are looking at this as a foretaste of Obamacare, because this is exactly what people thought Obama was going to do to insurance companies like Anthem Blue Cross. But we’ve learned today — he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he-he — that there’s no mechanism in the federal health bill to control premiums at all. The insurance companies are left to their own desires. If they want to raise rates 39%, they can do it as of now, despite all the promises Obama made. So, anyway, back to Massachusetts. What do you do now if you are an insurance company? Remember, they stopped selling policies. Do you close shop? You shut down? I mean, how in the world do you continue to operate here when you face the prospect of losing a hundred million dollars and the judge says, ‘Don’t worry about that, you can recoup that –‘ how? How do you recoup a hundred million dollars that you’ve lost and not be guilty of overcharging in the future? And don’t think that that won’t be something they’re accused of.
RUSH: Here’s Ray in Boston. Great to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Well, hi, Rush. Listen, you know, to add insult to injury to the Massachusetts nonprofit health insurance providers who now the state courts won’t allow them to increase the rate, the reason for the double-digit rate in the first place is because all the new first-time mandated enrollees who gamed the system. They don’t get the insurance, then they wait ’til they have expensive medical needs, enter the program, get the service, and then they drop out right afterwards.
RUSH: That’s exactly right. I forgot to mention that. That was a central part of the story we had on Friday. You have these Drive-By patients who wait ’til they get sick or wait ’til the accident then they enroll and this is causing some insurance rates to go up by 600% overall, not on individuals, to handle these people that come in and get out of the system.
CALLER: And that’s precisely why they need the increase, which they’re being denied!
RUSH: Well, something’s gotta give here. I don’t know how these companies can stay in business. Even if they’re nonprofits, I don’t know how they stay in business if they can’t fund their payments. I mean, they gotta have reserves to pay their claims. That’s federal law, that’s state law. You’ve gotta have a certain amount of cash on hand to be able to pay claims and in health care there are claims daily, multiple claims daily.
CALLER: Well, what’s happening right now today is the insurance companies don’t want to sell the insurance. So people can’t buy the insurance because the insurance companies are gonna lose money —
RUSH: Wait, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.
CALLER: — and the courts wouldn’t give the injunction.
RUSH: Hang on a minute. I thought the governor ordered them to start quoting rates last Friday and they have to start selling policies regardless.
CALLER: That’s right, but they don’t want to, and they wanted to get a court injunction, and the court wouldn’t let them. The court says, ‘You have to go apply through the state system.’
CALLER: In the meantime that could take months and what are they supposed to do in the meantime, lose money?
RUSH: That’s my question. It’s either that or shut down.
CALLER: Yeah, they’d shut down. They can’t lose money indefinitely.
RUSH: Well, to a statist like Deval Patrick or Obama they can. That’s what they’re supposed to do.
CALLER: Well, they’ll have to go out of business. That’s what’s going to happen. In other words, they wanted an injunction so they wouldn’t have to sell the insurance at a losing rate.
CALLER: They were denied it. They said they gotta go in and apply within the state. That would take long time. In the meantime, what are they supposed to do? They don’t want to write insurance.
RUSH: Well, it is an interesting question. If they’re forced to sell policies…? And furthermore — by the way, Ray, as you recall — Deval Patrick told them Friday they have to quote rates at last year’s rates not even this year’s.
CALLER: Precisely! And those rates don’t reflect all the new people gaming the system. So they’re caught in a bind, a double whammy that’s going to drive ’em out of business.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, then Deval Patrick can insure them. Let the state handle it.
CALLER: Well, that’s the problem with Romneycare, frankly, because it’s going to be manifested all over the country.
RUSH: Yeah. Yeah. I know. But let’s call it Obamacare.
CALLER: No, I mean, the program that Romney had in Massachusetts.
RUSH: Yeah, I know but Obama and everybody in his orb has been pointing to Massachusetts as a role model.
CALLER: Right. It’s a financial disaster. It can’t work.
RUSH: (laughing) It isn’t working. We’re right in the middle of it not working!
CALLER: Precisely. And it’s not working faster than anybody thought would happen because right now the rates went up, the insurance companies can’t charge the increased rates, and they went up precisely because insurance is open to everybody who games the system.
RUSH: Right. The timing is interesting because Deval Patrick’s reelection campaign starts, and what better way to appear as a populist on the side of ‘the little guy’ than to stand up to the insurance companies and say, ‘Hell, no you can’t raise rates! I don’t care what the reason is. Lose money. It’s my reelection here that matters.’ Thanks, Ray.