RUSH: Greetings. Snerdley, I can’t believe how you spelled Muncie, Indiana. (laughing) We have a call from somebody in Muncie, Indiana, which is M-u-n-c-i-e, and Snerdley has spelled it M-o-u-n-s-e-y. (laughing) Dr. Spencer sent me a note, Snerdley. He thinks that you put Katie up on the board to pay me back for chiding you for being late today. So now you’re going to have to give me another wacko after I publicly admonished your lack of spelling correctness on Muncie, Indiana.
RUSH: All right, to the phones, we go to Muncie — or maybe I should say ‘Mounsey,’ Indiana, as it’s spelled up there for me. Hi, Deborah. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. What a pleasure to be able to talk to you today.
RUSH: I just want to make sure. You do live in Muncie, right?
CALLER: I do. And it is M-u-n-c-i-e.
CALLER: (laughing) Yeah. That’s where I am. Been listening to the program. Wow, what a great response to Miss Katie. I know I need to stay focused but I wonder if you have some idle money laying around to help pay for the health care? (laughing) ‘Cause we’re all going to need a little of that. Too bad for Katie losing her job, but I agree with you, Rush — and it really grieves my heart to even have to say these words. I do believe that we are creating a lot of misfortune for people with the government wanting to control every aspect of our lives.
RUSH: No question about it. No question at all.
CALLER: But, you know, isn’t Obama going to have a health care summit? Oh, gosh, silly me! That really wasn’t about creating jobs, I guess.
RUSH: No, he’s going to have a jobs summit but job creation is not on the agenda.
CALLER: Right. Isn’t it maybe about a second stimulus, possibly? Maybe that’s it. I don’t know. But, anyway, my comment today was on Harry Reid’s health care bill. I believe he came out with a figure that the CBO said that the cost of that bill was going to be $850 billion.
RUSH: Eight-hundred-forty-nine billion.
CALLER: Mmm-hmm. But I don’t think that we factored in the fact that we’re going to be paying — what is it? There’s a half a trillion-dollar cut to Medicare if we really believe that figure we have to pay?
RUSH: Let me give you the real number on this, Deborah, because it’s even worse. The way this is working, it’s the same thing they did in the House. They do a ten-year projection. However, the tax increases that fund it start immediately. The health care bill doesn’t get implemented until year three or four, and that’s how they’re able to bring in this phony price. It’s also phony because the numbers are just targets. The real number in this bill — and I’ll spell it out for you when we come back from the break — is $2.5 trillion. It’s over 2,000 pages. It would take 34 hours to read this bill from start to finish. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma wants to make that happen, make them read it on the floor of the United States Senate. Thanks, Deborah.
RUSH: Okay, the Harry Reid health care bill announced late yesterday afternoon. In fact, let’s listen to him announce it. It was late yesterday afternoon on Capitol Hill at a little press conference.
REID: We’ve traveled really a long ways to where we are, and tonight begins the last leg of this journey that we’ve been on now for some time. The American people, President Obama have asked us for health insurance reform that does two things.
REID: One, make it more affordable for the American people. We’re not going to add a dime to the deficit. In fact, quite the opposite. We’ll cut the problems we have with money around here by as much as three-quarters of a trillion dollars. And this bill is going to do good things over the next ten years for so many different people in our society.
RUSH: None of that’s true. The American people are not asking for this. It’s toward the bottom of the list of things they think are important. Employment, the economy is at the on top of the list right now. It’s not going to be deficit neutral. There’s not a word he said that’s true here, not one. Now, John Boehner has put out a statement here on the GOP leader blog, and he has found in Senator Reid’s health care bill a requirement for a monthly abortion fee. Nancy Pelosi, by the way, says she likes the abortion language in the Senate bill. ‘Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) massive, 2,074-page bill would levy a new ‘abortion premium’ fee on Americans in the government-run plan.
‘Beginning on line 7, p. 118, section 1303 under ‘Voluntary Choice of Coverage of Abortion Services’…’ listen to this, ‘… the Health and Human Services Secretary is given the authority to determine when abortion is allowed under the government-run health plan.’ That is Kathleen Sebelius at this time. ‘Leader Reid’s plan also requires that at least one insurance plan offered in the Exchange covers abortions (line 13, p. 120). What is even more alarming is that a monthly abortion premium will be charged of all enrollees in the government-run health plan. It’s right there beginning on line 11, page 122, section 1303, under ‘Actuarial Value of Optional Service Coverage.’
‘The premium will be paid into a US Treasury account — and these federal funds will be used to pay for the abortion services.’ You will be required to pay a monthly abortion premium that will go into a Treasury account and that’s where the money will come from for government-run and paid-for abortions. ‘Section 1303(a)(2)(C) describes the process in which the Health Benefits Commissioner is to assess the monthly premiums that will be used to pay for elective abortions under the government-run health plan and for those who are given an affordability credit to purchase insurance coverage that includes abortion through the Exchange. The Commissioner must charge at a minimum $1 per enrollee per month.’
Now, remember: Over on the House side they have the Stupak amendment which says there will not be federally funded abortions. This sets up, at least on paper, quite a fight to figure this out. Because in the minds of some Wizards of Smart, it can’t pass with abortion funding in it and it can’t pass without it in it. So we are going to see where this all goes. Yuval Levin, National Review, The Corner blog has a pretty good description of the roughly 2,000-page bill. Now here we go again: The ten-year projection scores its cost at $848 billion because the CBO is required to use a ten-year window that starts at enactment. The bill is designed to start collecting taxes well before it starts spending money. So if you look at the first ten years of actual implementation when both the spending and the taxes are in effect — in other words, ignore the first three years where only tax increases go into effect but there’s no implementation of the bill — you start three years later when both the spending begins and the tax increases begin, and the ten-year cost then becomes $2.5 trillion.
‘The Democrats are proudly pointing to the fact that even with its high cost the CBO says the bill will not increase the deficit in the first ten years, but what that actually means is that in the midst of an economic downturn it raises taxes (and also cuts Medicare for the elderly) enough to cover the gargantuan cost. In fact it raises taxes by almost half a trillion dollars over ten years (including taxes on employers, on the uninsured themselves, and on drugs and medical devices and more).’ Five percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery. Five percent tax on Botox, for example.
‘It cuts Medicare by nearly as much. And of course, the deficit neutrality calculation assumes things that will never happen (which, as usual, the CBO does its best to signal to readers of its analysis of the bill, even if it cannot say it outright.) It is based, for instance, on the bill’s claim that some key Medicare physician payments would be cut by 23% in 2011 and would not be restored — which will happen well after hell freezes over. As the CBO carefully puts it: ‘The legislation would put into effect a number of procedures that might be difficult to maintain over a long period of time.”
The way to translate that is the legislation will have a bunch of garbage in it that will never happen, and ‘the long-term budgetary impact could be quite different if key provisions of the bill were ultimately changed or not fully implemented,’ they say. Yes, that’s what Levin means when he says they’re trying to tell the truth here but they’ve got to do it in a neutral sort of way because they’re a supposedly nonpartisan entity. What this is is Washington-speak for someone’s holding a gun to my head. ‘Meanwhile, the bill would do basically nothing to address the actual problem at the heart of our health care woes: rising costs.’ Now, folks, here’s a key number for you. Let’s use Reid’s number, $848 billion. It says that that will insure 31 million people who are uninsured. But, now, remember, the number used to be 47 million. Who are they? Well, that’s the illegal immigrants who are covered on the House side. But spending $848, $849 billion to reduce the number of uninsured Americans by 31 million seems like a pretty expensive policy to me, and then when you add in all the muck-up it is going to cause in the actual health care system.
I want to remind you again from Boehner’s blog post: Kathleen Sebelius will have sole authority to determine when abortions are paid for, fresh from her star turn on vaccines and breast cancer recommendations… Oh, yeah! She’s showing us her brilliance, is she not? The swine flu vaccine, ‘Oh, yeah, we got that handled! Ah, ah, ah! We need a reset on that. And mammograms? You have to be 50 years of age before you can get one.’ She decides about federal money spent on abortion services, and if she says it, then it is so. It is a disaster waiting to happen right there in front of us.
RUSH: Okay. We are back. There’s a piece in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by the Dean of the Harvard Medical School, and in my way of thinking, it may be the clearest most apolitical expose and indictment of the whole health care reform issue. It basically says that there are three issues to reform. The Dean of the Harvard Medical School, by the way, is Dr. Jeffrey Flier. It’s in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal: ‘Health ‘Debate’ Deserves a Failing Grade.’ It’s a plain talk, apolitical, dispassionate analysis of so-called health care reform and how apolitically dishonest it is. There are three issues to reform. One, cost. Number two, access. Number three, quality. His is an apolitical conclusion. None of the plans out there reduce cost. They increase costs. None of the plans improve quality. All of the plans increase access. More people will be insured. At what cost? They will not tell us. They know this reform will require urgent reform in the future.
In the dean’s own words, they ‘quietly understand this can only be the first step of a multiyear process to more drastically change the organization and funding of health care in America.’ The word ‘drastically’ is his word, not mine. So they know and are not telling us that they’re going to have to reform this immediately after they pass it. Let me give you an illustration. What they’re asking us to do is board a ship to who knows where, the cost of the trip will be who knows what — and it’s a one-way ticket. We don’t get back. So we don’t know where we’re going and we don’t know what it’s going to cost us, but when we get there, we’re stuck. That’s the best way to understand what this is all about. A one-way ship to who knows where at a price tag we can’t possibly contemplate. We’re forced to be on this ship and wherever it ends up, we’re stuck. We can’t get back. That is what awaits us.