RUSH: From the New York Times: ‘Some States Are Lacking in Health Law Authority.’ (laughing) They have no idea what’s in this law and who has the authority to carry it out. They don’t know anything. This is going to be the biggest boondoggle of all the boondoggles that have ever been boondoggles. ‘Faced with the need to review insurance rates and enforce a panoply of new rights granted to consumers, states are scrambling to make sure they have the necessary legal authority to carry out the responsibilities being placed on them by President Obama’s health care law. Insurance commissioners in about half the states say they do not have clear authority to enforce consumer protection standards that take effect next month.’
Do you remember when this thing was signed? People showed up at the doctor the next day, ‘Where’s my health care?’ ‘What?’ I want a MRI; I want my mastectomy; I want my Pap smear. I want it free.’ ‘Why?’ ‘Well, Obama signed health care, it’s free now.’ ‘Uh, no.’ ‘It isn’t?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well, when will it be?’ ‘We haven’t been told. We don’t know. If you want that procedure, let me see your insurance card.’ ‘I don’t have insurance. That’s the whole point. I was told I don’t need it.’ ‘No, no, no. You’re going to have to buy insurance, but it’s not going to be free.’ ‘Well, will you call me when it’s free?’ And then they leave.
‘Insurance commissioners in about half the states say they do not have clear authority to enforce consumer protection standards that take effect next month. Federal and state officials are searching for ways to plug the gap. Otherwise, they say, the ability of consumers to secure the benefits of the new law could vary widely, depending on where they live,’ and what political party they’re of. And if you doubt me on that, there is a guy down in Texas, his name was Fred Baron — does that name ring a bell? It ought to ring a bell. Fred Baron is one of the guys that paid John Edwards to run around and do what he was doing with Rielle Hunter. He’s a fellow tort lawyer. This story is in the Dallas Morning News: ‘Dallas’ top Democratic donors will cut big checks to share dinner later this month with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Most will be motivated by a desire to protect the party’s congressional majority. Lisa Blue will have an extra reason: to say thanks for Pelosi’s efforts when her husband, Fred Baron, was dying of bone marrow cancer. His only option was an experimental drug whose manufacturer refused to give permission to use it for Baron’s condition. ‘He was a big fan of hers, and now I am as well,’ Blue said.
‘Baron, the ‘King of Toxic Torts,’ built a fortune suing on behalf of asbestos victims. He died the week before Election Day 2008 at age 61. A prolific Democratic fundraiser, he served as finance chief that year for his friend John Edwards, who also made his fortune in court. Baron later acknowledged funneling large sums to Edwards’ mistress — a scandal that gave ammunition to those who already despised trial lawyers. But to Blue, first and foremost, Baron was a husband. The tale she tells of his final weeks is not so different than any widow might tell, except, of course, that the couple had friends in especially high places — friends like Pelosi, who will headline the Aug. 24 dinner to raise cash for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.’
Now, stick with me on this, folks. Hang in there. ‘In 2002, Baron was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. By October 2008, his doctors at the Mayo Clinic were telling him he had just days to live. They also offered a glimmer of hope. Over the years, the couple had donated about $1 million to Mayo. The staff was especially diligent, Blue said. They tested an arsenal of drugs and finally discovered that Baron’s cancer responded surprisingly well, in the lab, to a drug called Tysabri. Mayo had an ample supply, but the drug was — and still is — approved only for treatment of multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. The manufacturer, Biogen Idec, refused to give permission, even under special ‘compassionate use’ rules that protect a drug-maker from a black mark in case of an adverse outcome.’
So what happened? Lisa Blue and Fred Baron went everywhere. They went to the manufacturer. They went to the FDA. They went everywhere they could to get a waiver so he could use this drug. Everywhere he went was denied. Pelosi got it done. Hello death panels. Pelosi got it done. Pelosi somehow found a way to get this drug into the hands of Lisa Blue and Fred Baron and the doctors.
So when I say federal and state officials are searching for ways to plug the gap, otherwise they say the ability of consumers to secure the benefits of the new law could vary widely, depending on where they live and who they know and what their political party is. Fred Baron, big fundraiser, big tort lawyer, big partner of John Edwards, da-da-da-da, got a drug approved somehow, some way by Nancy Pelosi that nobody else could get approved. It didn’t work. That’s the end of the story. It extended his life two, three or four days, I’m told, but still, here’s a case where political connections and money got something done. And those of us, ladies and gentlemen, back when this whole rigmarole was being discussed and debated, we were sitting here making jokes, ‘I wonder how many people are going to change party, become Democrats here, to get favorable speedy treatment from these health panels.’ There you go. So this New York Times story, this by Robert Pear and Kevin Sack, states have no clue how to enforce anything in the health care bill.
Here’s a quote: ‘States are also waiting for the federal Department of Health and Human Services to define unreasonable rate increases. ‘That’s the big question,’ Ms. Praeger said. ‘Unreasonable is a rather nebulous term.”
I’m going to have one of my staff researchers — we’ve got that whole health care bill, we’ve got that abomination, we’ve got all 2,000 whatever pages, I’m going to do a word search on unreasonable, and I’m going to find out how many times unreasonable is in that bill because unreasonable — Ms. Praeger here is right, states are waiting for the Department of Health and Human Services to define unreasonable rate increases in administering or policing or regulating insurance companies. And in this health care bill, ‘as the secretary shall determine’ is a phrase that’s also in it, meaning the secretary of Health and Human Services. ‘As the secretary may determine,’ reasonable or unreasonable rate increases as the secretary — so it’s totally up to her discretion, in this case Sebelius. So nobody knows what the laws mean. There were elements of it that get implemented next month, and nobody knows what it means. Now, for Fred Baron to get that drug, that was not approved for use in a cancer patient, it had to be taken from somebody who was using it for approved purposes. Other people might have been put at risk so that the big Democrat lawyer — and most Democrats are lawyers, by the way, most powerful Democrats — anyway, for him to get the drug, somebody had to — didn’t matter.
RUSH: All right. We did our word search: ‘unreasonable’ shows up five times. I was kind of surprised it’s that few. ‘Unreasonable’ shows up five times in the final Senate version of Obamacare, but the word ‘reasonable’ shows up 56 times, and ‘reasonable’ is just as nebulous as ‘unreasonable.’ When I negotiate a contract, I love trying to sneak in the word ‘reasonable.’ (laughing) ‘Cause it doesn’t settle anything, it doesn’t solve diddly-squat. I love trying it just to see if people will catch it because most people fall hook, line, and sinker for the word ‘reasonable’ because they think, ‘Oh, yeah. That makes sense. ‘Reasonable’ is what makes sense.’ But, for example, what makes sense to Obama is not the same thing as what makes sense to us. What’s reasonable to him — ha! — is insane to us.