RUSH: This is another one. This was utterly predictable. It’s been on the verge of becoming reality all this past week. You remember earlier this week we had a story? There were three Democrats. Sander Levin was one of them. There were two others. Baghdad Jim McDermott and one other. They were just outraged, do you remember, because so many of their constituents did not know the final enrollment date for Obamacare.
And because they had missed it, they were then going to be subject to fines for not having health insurance. It’s right there in the law, but these constituents of these Democrats didn’t know it, and neither did the Democrats! It’s the most amazing thing. Three Democrats of the many who voted for Obamacare were out acting like they didn’t know this either, like some aliens had snuck this provision in there. And by golly, by gosh, they were going to get to the bottom of it! And they were going to figure out how this happened.
Well, it happened because they voted for it.
It’s always been the case in Obamacare that if you don’t have health insurance by a date certain, then you’re going to have to pay a fine. The only two options in this country anymore, when it comes to health care: Either you have a policy or you pay a fine for not having a policy. The fine works this way. Very simply, it’s 325 bucks or 2% of your adjusted gross income, whichever is the greater. But then it escalates. Now the 325 bucks, that’s much cheaper than any policy anybody can get other than a free one.
So it was assumed by many that a lot of people will pay the fine on purpose. The young, the healthy, the uninformed. The idiots, the derelicts, the people paying no attention and don’t even know about this. What people were not told is the mechanism for paying the fine. That’s why we needed 16,000 new IRS agents, because it’s right there in Obamacare: If you don’t buy insurance and therefore are subject to the fine, where are they going to go to get the money from you? They’re not going to send you a bill.
They’re just going to take what you owe from your income tax refund every year.
Now, what if you don’t get an income tax refund? Then they will send you a bill, or they will charge your penalty against further refunds. One way or the other, the federal government is going to get what you owe them if you don’t have insurance. Well, the story was about all of these Democrat voters who didn’t know any of this. They also didn’t know that the enrollment period had expired. They didn’t know any of it.
So these three Democrats — Sander Levin, Baghdad Jim McDermott, and I forget who the third one was — went caterwauling to the AP talking about the unfairness and how this is outrageous and they were going to have to do something about this like extend the enrollment period or do something about it. But what was classically funny was they’re the ones that made it happen. They’re the ones that voted for it. Now, we know that many people who voted for it never read the bill.
But just like we knew everything there is to know about Obama to be doubtful, we knew this. Folks, it was all there. Everything about Obama. You want me to go through the list of things? I’ll do that in a minute. But we knew everything we needed to know about Obama to seriously question who he was, right? Well, just like we knew that, we knew what was in Obamacare. We had taken the time to find out. Many of us read it ourselves or we trusted others who had read it to be honest in telling us what was in it.
Regardless, we knew what was in it.
We knew the series of fines existed.
We knew the enrollment dates.
We knew the mandates.
We knew all of these things that were going to affect people, and we spent years on this program telling you about them. Therefore you, depending on your memory, knew as well. But the Democrat voters, the average Democrat voter didn’t know and was shocked and outraged. And the Democrat members of Congress (who made it all happen) were also acting ignorant and shocked and surprised and running around screaming. It’s like the Limbaugh Theorem: Blame somebody else for this.
“It’s obviously some trick that the Republicans snuck in there,” except they couldn’t have.
They didn’t vote for it.
The Republicans don’t have a single fingerprint on Obamacare!
Well, this led to further stories earlier this week about the need to extend the enrollment period and maybe “refine” the fine-paying process and so forth, and here’s the latest on it today. “Bowing to intense pressure, the Obama [Regime] said Friday it will give uninsured Americans exposed to Obamacare’s [fine] for lacking insurance a six-week grace period to enroll in coverage,” in other words, to go out and get a policy, “and avoid heftier penalties next year, even though they missed last weekend’s deadline to sign up. …
“The special enrollment period will last from March 15 to April 30…” This is considered enough time to make sure that all uninformed and stupid Democrat voters can get Hoovered up into this and figure out what they want to do. It should be enough time to sweep them all up — to swoop in there, get them signed up, whatever you’re going to do — and then take care of this. “The special enrollment period will last from March 15 to April 30 and apply to federal-exchange customers in 37 states who, while filing their taxes, learn for the first time of the need to pay a fee…”
See, that’s what’s happened.
People are filing their taxes, and if they go to H&R Block or if they try to do it themselves or if they go to any tax preparer, that’s when they learn that they have to pay a fine. “Do you have health insurance? Check box yes or no.” If you don’t, that’s when your tax preparer tells you, “Well, we’re going to have to take away from your refund. You have to pay a fine,” and these people are blowing up. They had no clue. They had no idea. So mad Democrat voters? “Well, we can’t put up with this!
“No, no, no. Mad Democrat voters? If that’s going to happen we have to find a way to blame it on the Republicans or find a way to fix it because we can’t have angry Democrat voters.” So everybody scrambled and they’ve now extended the enrollment deadline. How many times has he done this? This is a wanton random change. This is one of the many changes that Obama has randomly made to this law that he doesn’t have the legal authority to do. All of the different waivers, all the enrollment dates that have floated and moved.
This law bears very little resemblance to what it was when it was originally voted on, and it’s becoming increasingly popular for people not to know. I think it’s never been possible, actually, for even the most informed citizen to know exactly what’s in this bill. The people that wrote it, even. There’s so many people that wrote it that cut and pasted their own little pet peeve stories and proposals and ideas into it that it’s a catchall. It’s an absolute mess. It’s an absolute disaster. I don’t think there’s anybody that knows exactly what’s in it.
Besides that, all of the references in the law itself to “or as the secretary may determine.” The Secretary of Health and Human Services is empowered to make this law whatever she or he wants, given any or this or any circumstance. But it was just, to me, uproariously funny to watch these three Democrats act like they had no idea. “How did these fines get in here? Who did this?” They did! Their president did! The Democrat Party owns Obamacare, the mess, whatever it is. Only their fingerprints are on this.
But there’s an addendum to the story: Obamacare Officials Admit Blunder: 800K Got Faulty Tax Info From Federal Website — The administration has estimated that up to 6 million people will be subject to the individual mandate tax,” this fine, “for not holding insurance last year, although [the Regime] has not projected how many will take advantage of the special enrollment period. The government will not offer relief from the 2014 penalty, which is the greater of $95 or 1% of household income above the filing threshold.”
That’s the first year penalty. The second year it’s $325 or 2%, whichever is greater.
“Today’s move was not unexpected as the [Regime] had been openly mulling the relief period and three state-run exchanges have already extended extra time to penalty payers. But in a twist, the agency said that it is now scrambling to fix an error on crucial forms that went out to roughly one-in-five HealthCare.gov customers, about 800,000 people, and could affect the calculation against 2014 income that determines whether they got too much or too little of the subsidy.”
Do you realize what a mess this is?
Eight hundred thousand people got faulty information at HealthCare.gov so now the IRS and everybody is scrambling to send the correct information out to these people who have finally filed their returns or are on the verge of filing returns. They didn’t know what to pay penalty-wise. They didn’t know there was going to be a penalty. They’re agitated, they’re irritated, and the Democrats are trying to make it look like they had nothing to do with this! And the Obama administration, in pure Limbaugh Theorem form, is running around trying to act like they had nothing to do with this.
(Obama impression) “Somebody else screwed this up, because when we finished it, it was smooth sailing. It was ready to go.” But now it’s exactly… (sigh) Folks, look, it’s exactly the mess so many of us feared. Nobody wants this for people! This is not improving health care for people. I saw it elsewhere in the Stack here, the number of uninsured who have been covered — which, again, was another one of the primary reasons for doing this. The number of uninsured that have been covered is so infinitesimally small it’s embarrassing.
I remember all during this, shouting at this microphone: “None of this is about health care. This is not about insuring you. This is not about giving you good treatment. This is about nothing other than the government getting bigger and swallowing whole one-sixth of the US economy. But because it’s health care, they are going to have more and more total dominion and control over how people live.” Lo and behold, coming up later on in the program: “Federal Government Says America Should Adopt a ‘Plant-Based’ Diet.”
Companion story: “Nation’s Top Nutrition Panel: The American Diet is Killing Us.” Since they now are in charge of health care and therefore controlling its costs, they can determine what a healthy diet or unhealthy diet is and they can demand that you adhere to it. If you don’t adhere to it — and they’ll know by virtue of you getting fat or your blood pressure going up or whatever mechanism they want to use. If they can find out you’re not adhering to your mandatory diet, guess what?
You’re going to pay another fine — or worse, you’re not going to get treated. That’s how this is going to work. So therefore they’re going to have more mechanisms to control every aspect of the way you live, simply by having control of the purse strings to health care, and that’s what it was all about. So all of these little machinations going on now? The enrollment not being met and the fines not being a surprise to people? They don’t care. It was not about that. These are just little bumps in the road, and there’s nothing you can do.
You’re still going to have to pay the fine or have a policy. That isn’t going to change. They may change the enrollment date and give you a couple more months to do it but you’re still going to have to do it. You’ll still have to pay through the nose for a policy, or still pay a fine, or you’ll have to go around without and hope they don’t catch you and be in violation of the law. Your payment is going to come out of your tax refund every year and then you’re going to have to adhere to the diet they demand.
This is what’s coming. That’s why they wanted socialized medicine. That’s why they wanted Obamacare. It wasn’t about altruistic things. It wasn’t about compassionate health care desires. It wasn’t about the fact that they care about your health and never want you to get sick, and if you do get sick wanting you to get well as cheaply and as quickly as possible. That’s not it. It’s just the way they told you. It’s magic. They act like they care for you.
They act like they’re the only ones that care for you, and you’re willing to entrust everything about yourself to them. Their voters are. Sadly, every time — no exception — people eventually learn they can’t fulfill their promises because they can’t care enough, they don’t care enough, and it’s not about caring about you in the first place. (sigh) We’ve known since 2009 that this is what this is going to be, just like we’ve known since 2007/2008 who Obama is. None of it’s a mystery.
RUSH: Jason in upstate New York, Open Line Friday, welcome. Great to have you here.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, it’s a great honor to talk to you. I have to get right to my point here. I’m a paramedic in upstate New York and I’m seeing a lot of community hospitals shutting down to reimbursement rates falling for Medicaid and through Medicare due to the new health care law, as well as a lot of insured patients that I have losing their insurance because of the Affordable Healthcare Act. It’s crushing the infrastructure of the rural and small community hospitals in the area.
Our local hospital in Ticonderoga, New York is currently deciding what to do, whether they should dissolve the hospital or eliminate the nursing home as part of just deteriorating conditions in the healthcare system up here. One example basically is that we reimburse, we have a $2,000 transport, and Medicaid will maybe give us 10 percent. And we have to wait for that amount for anywhere from three to six months to get reimbursed. Ten percent of that is $200. Between gas and payroll and everything else, we’re losing money on those calls. The same thing with the emergency room.
RUSH: You’ve got to be doing something wrong, because none of this is supposed to happen.
CALLER: Oh, no.
RUSH: Obamacare was going to fix all of this. You guys have got to be screwing it up somehow because this is not supposed to happen.
CALLER: They like to blame us as far as the fees and what we charge for the transport, but they don’t understand that we have to charge what we have to charge, at least try to break even.
RUSH: I don’t know, you better tell people up there start eating right and not get sick. That to me sounds like the only solution.
RUSH: Now, I had some e-mails during the break. “You were pretty rude to that guy from upstate New York.” You know, I thought about any number of ways I could have dealt with the call. Why are you laughing in there? Do you think I was rude? This is the thing, it is what it is. I could have answered the guy. I’ll tell you what I thought about doing, and I may do this randomly from now on. Just pick a moment. Pick a call. When it works.
Okay. So this guy was calling. His name was Jason, right? Upstate New York and he gave us the details of how the hospital and the EMS system simply can’t stay afloat. They simply can’t stay in business because of the Medicare, Medicare — it’s all Obamacare. The reimbursements, the mess that Obamacare is.
I could have answered it as if this were a liberal talk show — and I may do that now and then just surprisingly and randomly and off the cuff — and had I answered him as a liberal I would have said: “Why are you complaining? This is why we need Obamacare. People like you want to get rich off the health care business. Why should you make any money getting people well? That’s the problem with health care and Obama’s addressing it. There’s too many people getting too rich and all they’re doing is making people well. Being well is the natural state. Being sick, that’s unnatural. So if you have the ability to make sick get well, why should you get rich doing that? That’s all Obama’s doing. He’s equalizing things. He’s making sure that you, who simply do what you should be doing out of the goodness of your heart, are not being overly compensated for it. Why should you make more than anybody else just because you make somebody get sick get well?”
You don’t think that’s an attitude they have? If you are in the medical field, if you’re a doctor, if you’re a nurse, if you’re in any way involved, I’m going to make a prediction to you right now. It’s not the first time. I’ve predicted it before. Eventually it’s going to happen, because they don’t have the money for this, folks. As Jason’s call illustrates, there isn’t the money. The only way that Obamacare can even hope to stay functioning is by denying treatment to a certain number of people. It’s the only way. We don’t have the money to treat everybody.
If the government’s going to take over that responsibility, if we’re going to remove market forces from this entire endeavor of health and health care and health insurance, there’s no way. We already are $18 trillion in debt and the annual deficit, they say it’s coming down, smoke and mirrors. We don’t have the money for this. And what’s going to happen at some point, as the regime has got everybody believing now this is going to be better than ever, and it’s going to be filled with lots of compassion, a lot of sick people getting better and a lot of uninsured getting insured. I mean, they promised a utopia with this.
And when that doesn’t happen — and it isn’t going to take long for people to realize — the next thing the regime is going to say is we all need to lower our expectations, especially those that are in the health care business. Because it’s just not right that people who treat the sick should get a lot of money for that. Look at Mother Teresa. She did it for charity. Mother Teresa, why, she should have been the richest person on earth and she did it from the goodness of her heart and more of you should too. Why should there be exorbitant salaries paid to people who make people well?
Well, it takes a lot of money to go to school and learn how to do it and it’s specialized and not everybody can treat the sick. Yeah, but we’re still talking about a compassionate endeavor. They’re going to resort to this at some point, because there isn’t the money for this.
RUSH: Here’s Francine in Houston. Great to have you on Open Line Friday. Hi.
CALLER: Great to be with you, Rush. I love your show. I love everything about you.
RUSH: I appreciate that, especially today I appreciate that.
CALLER: Since you started talking about health care today, I thought I would call in and put in my two cents.
RUSH: Fine and dandy. Have at it.
CALLER: I figured, you know, if Obama really wanted to fix the health care problem, we had 30 million people without health care.
RUSH: That wasn’t even true. That wasn’t even true. It was like 14 or 15 at most because many of the people that didn’t have it could have, they just didn’t want it because they were young.
CALLER: Okay. If he wanted to really fix it, simple solution. We had the best health care in the world. People come from all over to come to the United States for health care. All we needed to do was keep everything as it was but allow people to go across the state lines and purchase their insurance.
RUSH: That would have solved — she’s exactly right. That would have been a huge improvement.
CALLER: Then those people that didn’t have insurance, get a million dollars for each one of them, put it in a medical savings account. Problem solved.
RUSH: That’s also true, and it was suggested. It was suggested. You could have fixed the health care system for that little. Now, Francine, let’s not get too far away from reality, because the health care system was not perfect. In talking about insuring the uninsured, yeah, we could have done that for much, much less money than what we spent on the reform. And letting people go across state lines to buy insurance would have really ramped up competition and that would have brought prices down. No question about it.
But employers were pulling their hair out over the ravaging increasing costs of the benefit of providing health insurance to so many employees. There were problems with it. And the problems with it allowed people like Obama, the Democrat Party, to come up with false reasons, rooted in compassion, why they wanted to take it over and fix it. Because it did have some things wrong with it. Most of them were related to the fact that there were no market forces involved in determining prices in health care. And that was because the government had been involved essentially, in an intense way, since the 1960s. But it was much better than what it is now. And it was the best health care system in the world. You are exactly right. And we could have reformed it better and for much less money than what we’ve done.