RUSH: Here’s Frank in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Hey, Frank, great to have out program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I thought this would be a quicker way to talk to the president by calling you on my cell phone. I believe that Ted Cruz is exactly right, in the sense that Obama has not addressed the issue of health care. I think he has made out by trying to scare Americans into participating in Obamacare by saying, “If you have a medical issue, you could financially be decimated,” which is true.
RUSH: “One sickness away from bankruptcy,” Obama said.
CALLER: Right. But I would say that our main problem with health care — which is a great system, but this is my opinion — is the insurance companies have driven the cost of health care out of sight. So, in fact, he is really protecting the insurance companies and what they’re charging and is giving the bill to working Americans.
RUSH: Well, there is some truth to that. Why do you think that is?
CALLER: Well, it’s human. It certainly was easy for him.
RUSH: Well, no, let’s take your premise. If he’s protecting the insurance companies and making sure that premiums go up and stay up and the American people getting socked for it, why would Obama do that, do you think? When he was trying to make everybody think it’s gonna be cheaper, $2500 premium cheaper, keep your doctor, keep your plan… I mean, he’s lying left and right over this thing, while the insurance companies are, at the moment, enjoying these new higher premiums.
CALLER: Well, by their own definition, doesn’t that make him a Republican because he’s defending Big Business?
CALLER: Well, I’m just… I obviously just made a joke. But I mean —
RUSH: Let me take over here, because you’ve got a good point. I don’t know if you know it or not, but you’ve got a good point. The first premise that you stated, though, I would disagree with. You said the insurance companies have driven up premiums in our health care system. I don’t think that’s true.
I mean, they’ve clearly played a role, but it’s the government being involved. It is the magic of the third-party payer that has made many Americans think it’s free. So the patient doesn’t have to be worried about what things really cost. It’s not true for everybody.
But a lot of Americans have not worried what things cost as they would if they were paying for it out of pocket, because the insurance is paying for it. Now, the part that they had to pay of each illness or trip to the doctor or whatever was probably ridiculously expensive, but it was only a small percentage of the total bill, so they were able to rationalize it.
“And thank God for insurance or I wouldn’t be able to afford any of this.” So the insurance companies benefited that way. But it’s the government being involved that has driven prices up. In any other insurance field, like auto, or life, or what have you, you don’t have anywhere near commensurate prices. But health insurance is through-the-roof obscene.
Now, is the government involved in auto insurance? No. Is the government involved in life insurance? No. Is the government involved in any other kind of insurance for the most part other than health care? No. So I think the root of the problem here has been government for 50 years being involved in this. I mean, it’s just ballooned and steamrolled and snowballed to the point that Americans felt their boss was paying for it.
It was a benefit, or the insurance company was paying for it. But whatever, at some point in our past, health treatment and paying for it ceased to have any linkage to the market. Now, in any other walk of life — be it buying a car, or renting a hotel room, or buying anything — there are tiers of prices based on what people can afford. There are cheap hotels; there are five-star hotels.
But if you want a hotel room somewhere there’s gonna be one you can afford. It’s priced that way. The market works. And the vast majority of hotel rooms anywhere are going to be middle range, lower range price. That’s what people could afford. That’s what people have indicated they’re willing to pay. Imagine if there was government hotel insurance.
And let’s say that some Democrat someday decided that everybody was entitled to a five-star hotel room whenever they stay in a hotel, and that if you couldn’t afford it you were gonna get hotel insurance and somebody’s gonna pay for it for you. Soon, it wouldn’t take long before the price of a five-star hotel room would not be based on what people could pay for it.
Well, at some point in our past, health care ceased to have anything to do with affordability. Too many people were making too much money. It didn’t matter. The person actually getting the treatment wasn’t the end payer, so there didn’t have to be any market force or market relationship. And the quickest fix for health care is to return to market-force-based cost.
That’s based on what people can afford. Nobody gets paid if people can’t afford the price. Nobody’s gonna sell X if people (the market they’re being aimed at) can’t afford it. Well, that ceased mattering in health care 30/40 years ago, and as that ceased, the assumption was that the cost didn’t matter because you had health insurance. Somebody else was paying for it. Other people’s money was paying for it.
Somebody you’d not even known was paying for it. But somebody was paying for it. And then you came to think you were entitled to it because you kept hearing, “Well, my God! If our Constitution provides you a lawyer when you can’t afford one, then by God they ought to provide you a doctor when you get sick!” Everyone said, “Yeah, right on, Zeke!” So everybody started to think it was an entitlement.
When you got sick, the United States of America owed you a doctor.
When you needed an operation, the United States of America owed you the operation.
Because you’re an American!
When you needed a tooth pulled, the United States of America owed you. And then when you needed to go get medicine for whatever, the United States of America owed you that medicine. And that became the mind-set of millions and millions of America, exactly as designed by the American left and the Democrat Party. Soon, it didn’t take long, health care expenses ballooned to the point that very few people could afford it on their own. Well, that wasn’t the way health care was for the vast majority of hundreds of years of this country.
For the vast majority of time in this country, health care was affordable. The things that weren’t, of course, were emergencies, catastrophic events, long term. And that’s what you had insurance for, was the stuff you couldn’t afford. But it didn’t take long people had insurance for what they could afford, which makes no sense whatsoever. Health care ought to be like anything else. You want it, you pay for it. Like I’m sick right now. I’ll just use myself. I’ve got a cold. I’m not gonna waste anybody’s money, nor mine, going to the doctor. I know what’s going on. But the way it is now, on the first day of something like this everybody trucks off to the doctor, demands a test, demands an examination and some medicine, and they think somebody should pay for it. And you can’t blame people, it’s human nature.
When people think that they’re entitled to something because they’ve been told and they have voted for people who have promised them that they’re entitled and they’re gonna have access to all this. But the fact that most of health care is priced beyond the average American’s ability to pay is the single problem that needs to be fixed. And if were it, then you wouldn’t need the government making things fair or right or any of that, just like you don’t need the government selling auto insurance. The government wasn’t involved in any business. They couldn’t be involved. The Fourth Amendment. They were not allowed to require people to buy things or services.
Now, the second question that I asked you, why would Obama be ensuring high prices for the insurance companies? Why in the world in all of this wouldn’t Obama be trying to guarantee low prices for his voters? That’s what he promised ’em. But instead the insurance companies are benefiting. But if you talk to them, some of them are, some of them are not. But as premiums skyrocket and health insurance companies decide to get out of various segments of the business, it is clear that what’s happening here. Obama needed the insurance companies and the hospitals from the very first days of trying to sell this. He needed them on board for his massive health care reform. He needed them to be partners in the advertising. He needed them to be partners in the message.
If you’re an insurance company and here you’ve got Barack Obama and he’s promising that every American, by law, is gonna have to have insurance, you are an insurance company, you don’t have to do anything. The president is giving you 35, 43, whatever the number is, million brand-new customers, and you don’t have to do one penny’s worth of advertising. All you gotta do is support the president.
So even if you are a conservative ideological guy, you run an insurance company, on the one hand you’ve got the dilemma, oh, my God, the government’s getting big and intrusive and it’s getting involved in my business. On the other hand, they’re gonna deliver me 35 to 40 million new customers and I don’t have to do jack whatever for it? What do you think that guy’s gonna do? They partnered with Obama and he’s paying them off, before he wipes them out. That is where this is eventually headed.
In a number of years, maybe a decade, a little longer, if nothing changes here, there isn’t gonna be a private sector health insurance market except for the very few who are very wealthy. They will always be able to buy what they want. But you won’t. There won’t even be health insurance, really. The government will act as the payee. The single payer. You will have your Medicare card and whenever you get sick, here’s what’s gonna change. For the first time in your life, you’re not gonna be treated, depending on various factors: your age, your overall health, how you voted, who knows how they’ll do it.
Right now the assumption is, ’cause the Democrats care, is that everybody gets health care. Once the government totally controls it is when the death panels come into forefront existence, and that is where your mother at age 95 will be turned down for a pacemaker because it’s cost prohibitive to spend that kind of money on somebody that’s gonna only live a year or two, statistically. So, here, give her a pain pill and tell her to chill out. Obama’s already said that’s what they’re gonna end up doing. He said that on prime time TV on ABC back in 2010.
When the government has full control over this is when an increasing number of sick people are not going to be treated. That’s where this is all headed. Right now, Obama needs the insurance companies working with these exchanges, so he’s keeping prices up to make it worth their while. Each developing stage of this is gonna make insurance companies less and less necessary. I don’t know whether they know it or not, the insurance companies. I have to assume they’re not idiots and they know it and they’re just trying to make their big score while they can ’cause they know what’s coming their way. But they sold their souls back in 2010 for this. Some did, not all, but some did.
RUSH: You know, the brother of Rahm Emanuel, named Ezekiel Emanuel, is a doctor. He’s intimately involved in Obamacare, and he wrote a piece in the New Republic, liberal journal of opinion that was published on March 2nd of this year. “Insurance Companies as We Know Them Are About to Die — and Here’s What’s Going to Replace Them.” That’s the headline. And the last line, the final line of Zeke Emanuel’s piece in the New Republic is, quote, “So be prepared to kiss your insurance company good-bye forever.”
From earlier in the article: “In January 2012 Jeffrey Liebman and I predicted in The New York Times the end of health insurance companies by 2020. We might have been a bit optimistic — or provocative. But it is certain they will end. Insurance companies will largely cease to be the middle man — taking premiums, paying providers, saying no to consumers, and making a profit — that we blame.”
We’re gonna get rid of ’em. We don’t need the middleman. We don’t need somebody else profiting. We’re just gonna eliminate ’em. It’s gonna be you and your government. There won’t be any insurance companies. So Obama basically needed the insurance companies to willingly go along with their own suicide. And as many of them as he could convince that they were not committing suicide, of course, he did. Some of them knew what was in store for them and said, “Okay, we’re gonna score while we can.” But none of them that I know of are actually fighting to hold on.
Who can oppose the government? If the government wants to wipe you out, and you’ve got an activist government like this Regime, the odds are they’re gonna succeed in wiping you out. So the insurance companies are going along with their own suicide, but it’s gonna take some years, and in the process Obama’s promised ’em big money. And they are availing themselves of that chance.