RUSH: We go to Jim in south Florida. Great to have you, sir. I’m glad you waited. How are you doing?
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m fine. I hate to interrupt your train of thought here, but I have had a question here for about a week. Last Tuesday you were talking about Obamacare, indicated that, you know, passed by the Dems, how basically it was a shell. That the secretary of Health and Human Services then packed with mandates, exceptions, and exclusions. And I am just wondering now that we have another, different secretary, why can’t he get in there and rip all that crap out of there?
RUSH: Well, it was the plan. And in fact that was the plan. In the first phase of the Obamacare repeal and replace. Now, I’m taking you back here to late February into mid-March, when the first House bill came up, there were three phases of it. And the first phase was to basically repeal Obamacare.
The second phase was to do this to go — you’re talking about the essential health benefits. Those are the mandates that Obama put in that the Health and Human Services secretary added “as the secretary shall determine,” as it says throughout pages of the health care bill. And then phase 3 was to eliminate the state line restriction on insurance companies being able to sell policies.
There are three mandates in Obamacare. There is the personal mandate, which requires you to have a policy or else pay a fine. Then there is the employer mandate, which is the mandate requiring the employer to provide health insurance for everybody, and that’s limited to companies that have 50 or more employees. That’s what resulted in people being converted from full time to part time.
The third set of mandates are contained in what is called Title I of Obamacare, the essential health benefits that were added after the bill was passed. And the essential health benefits, for example, are requiring everybody to have maternity insurance, even if they’re not women, even if they’re 100 years old. Now, that’s just to set up the answer to the question.
Hang on. I’ll get to it when we get back.
RUSH: Now, okay, here’s the answer to the question. “Why can’t we just go in and start taking out of some of these essential health benefits that Obama put in there with his health and human service secretary?” We can but we haven’t gotten rid of the mandates yet. The law has to be changed to eliminate mandates. There’s three different kinds. There’s the employer mandate, the personal mandate, and then the Title I mandate: Essential health benefits.
We just can’t go in and rip these things out because they have occurred under a statutory Title I. It’s the way laws are titled and recorded. But that’s why there has to be a repeal, and the repeal goes in stages. Rather… If was it a full-fledged repeal, we could do anything we want. This is what’s frustrating about this. You know, Ben Sasse, the senator from Nebraska, just said, “Repeal it, and then during the August recess we come to work and we rebuild the health care plan.” I asked Ted Cruz about that. He said, “I would support this in a minute, but we’re not gonna get 50 Republican senators to agree to it. We can only lose two.”
I keep hearing the name Susan Collins as one who is gonna, you know, stray if this thing gets too far off center. But the simple thing to do would just be to repeal everything and then start from ground zero rebuilding it, something I have advocated doing from the get-go, ever since we won the election. The debate’s always been repeal, or repeal and replace, and then repeal and replace when? Do you repeal and replace it now and wait ’til after the 2018 midterms where we ostensibly have 60 senators and can do anything we want, or do you replace it now — repeal and replace it now — and replace it instantly?
And it all boils down to what Pat Toomey said in a town hall: The Republicans in the Senate — probably in the House, too — didn’t expect Trump to win and so they didn’t have a plan. Now, I know how that sounds. That’s just… It’s maddening. “What do you mean you didn’t have a plan? How many repeal-and-replace bills did you guys write and send up to the White House that were vetoed or you were gonna send up?” I mean, it took nothing at all to write bills to announce the repeal of Obamacare. But now that it’s really on the table, somehow we can’t do it?
But before you get to the part of the bill where the secretary of Health and Human Services can add or subtract, you have to eliminate the statutory aspect of the bill where the mandates are. That requires a repeal. And in some people’s cases, depending on belief, it requires a replacement. So you just can’t go in now and say, “We don’t like this requirement that the Catholic Church has to provide abortifacients in their health care coverage. We don’t like the fact that a 100-year-old woman has to buy maternity coverage.”
Which is the law now. That’s one of Obama’s essential health benefits, the EHBs. Those are the mandates under Title I. They’ve got three kinds of mandates in Obamacare, personal mandate, employer mandate, and Title I mandates (EHBs), and before you can rip those out, you have to get rid of the mandates from the law. The easiest way to do that is to repeal it. But since it’s now an entitlement and since there are now beneficiaries and since — and I’ll tell you what Senator Cruz told me. I’m kind of giving a little bit of stuff away here ’cause it’s coming up in the interview section of the issue of the next Limbaugh Letter and he says — if you’re like me, I’m tired of hearing this.
He says it really is about too many Republican senators being worried about what the New York Times and Washington Post are gonna say about ’em, not to mention the Democrat Party, being heartless and having no compassion and all that. Because, as Senator Cruz told me — and he’s told me this on a number of occasions. When he was first elected and first got to the Senate, the thing that blew his mind — even though I think he intellectually understood it. The singular focus of everybody there is reelection, which means the singular focus is fundraising and image. Fundraising and brand.
When you add to that the fact that Republicans are the natural enemies of the media, you end up with paralysis. So if the first and foremost objective is getting reelected, that means the first thing you do every day has to be focused on that, be it fundraising, planning for fundraising, or speeches that are oriented toward continuing to have people vote for you. And if there’s the slightest bit of resistance that any senator detects anywhere from one person, one constituent who’s vociferous about it, that repealing something in Obamacare can harm them? “I don’t know that we should go down that road, Mr. McConnell.”
But I hope… I mean, I know the answer is not gonna please you but I hope that it helps you to understand. In order to take control of this and to be able to rip out Obama’s mandates and put our own in, we have get rid of the current structure of the mandate, because they are statutory. Now, Obama’s essential health benefits were not arrived at legislatively, but the mandate requiring them was. Obama couldn’t have gotten people to vote for ’em, either. But one of the other crucial aspects of this — and Senator Cruz addressed this, too.
He said: Look, it wouldn’t solve anything if we could go in there and simply take out all of Obama’s mandates, the essential health benefits, without repealing and without replacing, because the next Democrat president (which, there likely will be one someday) could simply put ’em back in. We have to fix this permanently by getting rid of Obamacare permanently, just wiping it off the face of the earth, getting rid of its existence. And that’s what there isn’t consensus support to do. Fifty-two senators isn’t enough. And it’s a problem, because you know the drill.
They said, “Well, we can’t repeal Obamacare because we don’t even have the House.”
So he we gave them the House.
“Well, we can do it in the House, but we can’t get the Senate. We don’t have the Senate! You gotta get the Senate.”
We gave ’em the Senate.
And then they said, “Obama’s gonna veto whatever we do. We can’t really do anything ’til we get the White House.”
We gave ’em the White House!
Now they’re saying, “We don’t have 60 votes in the Senate.”
By this time, people are concluding, “You know what? Maybe you guys don’t want to. Maybe all this huffing and puffing the last seven years was just about reelection,” and I think a lot of people realize that.
RUSH: I’ll tell you what I think. I think some of this inaction on Obamacare in the Senate and in the House, and I think some of this inaction on other things, is rooted in the Republicans thinking they may not win the midterms. What do they pay attention to?
You know, yesterday I made the point that conservative intellectuals in our media despise Trump, they’re Never Trumpers, and they write that because they want the approval of the intellectuals on the left inside the Beltway and in the establishment. And I made the point, the problem with that is that these left-wingers don’t read what our intellectuals write. They don’t read us. They don’t listen to this show. We read them. We study them. We explain them to our audiences, but they don’t do that. So it’s a lost cause.
By the same token, I think elected Republicans — not all, of course — elected Republicans watch the mainstream media, and that’s how they are informed, and that’s what they think the rest of the country thinks of them. So let’s say in addition to they think they may not even win in the midterms, they may not keep the Senate, for example — which is absurd. The opportunity is here to get 60 votes in the Senate!
But if they think Trump is so unpopular, they’re gonna lose midterms, and Trump’s not gonna win reelection, what do you think their attitude on this would be? It could go two ways. If they literally think Trump isn’t gonna win the election, they say, “Okay, we’ve got a limited opportunity here, we gotta go pedal-to-the-metal, get as much as done as we can.” Or they could say, “It’s all gonna be reversed. Let’s not even risk our careers. Let’s not risk anything. If Trump’s not gonna win, if people hate Trump, if Trump doesn’t have a prayer, if Trump’s a buffoon like the left says –” what do you think is determining their thought process?
They didn’t think Trump was gonna win, so they didn’t have a plan. That’s Pat Toomey. You think they’ve changed their minds and think, “Wow, Trump’s kicking ass, he’s gonna win in 2020.” Or do they think he’s gonna lose? What do you think their attitude is? I tell people to stop watching the news, stop watching the media, particularly at night, don’t watch it. Your attitude, your mood, your opinion of the country will change dramatically.
RUSH: Wesley in Raleigh, North Carolina, hi. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Rush, mega dittos from Raleigh. Longtime listener. Complete thrill to talk to you. I’m gonna cast us back to July 4th. I read a column by David Brooks. You were talking about “conservative intellectuals” — and I’m putting that in quotes — and what their thinking is. The reason this article caught my eye, and I thought it might catch yours as well, title is good, “What’s the Matter With Republicans?” It’s right along with Thomas Franks’ “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” Maybe David Brooks is taking over for Thomas Franks now that he’s unemployed.
But he goes to try to understand the thinking of middle America, as he sees it, you know, and they always go back to the eighteenth, nineteenth century frontier thinking. Why are these people Trump supporters? Aren’t they voting against their economic interests? And then he goes on to say that they somehow believe that personal virtues are the virtues that are the basic constituents of a great nation. And that’s an emotional argument, according to David Brooks. It’s not an intellectual argument, according to him, at least according to this article. And it’s such a shocking divergence of logic that I think the answer is, you know, what’s the matter with Republicans, if you count David Brooks as one, it’s incredible cynicism that’s so obvious and clear —
RUSH: I don’t think there’s a better way to say it. I don’t think David Brooks knows about the people he’s writing about. I don’t think he really knows them. He doesn’t get out there and visit them. I don’t think he knows. I think all these people are so removed and so distant that they have caricatures of what they think people are, and they’re not even close.
RUSH: I don’t think David Brooks has met a Trump supporter and certainly not a Trump supporter with a crease in his slacks that he approves of.