The Affordable Care Act is So Unaffordable, Members of Congress and Their Aides are Quitting Because They Can't Afford It!
June 13, 2013
RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, this is truly outrageous. There's a headline in The Politico today: "Obamacare? We Were Just Leaving..." And when I saw the headline, I thought it was gonna be an article about how Democrats are afraid of losing their seats because of all the skyrocketing costs of health premiums and all the other negatives associated with Obamacare.
But that's not what this story is about. What this story's about is congressmen worried about themselves. In a nutshell, a number of congressmen and staffers, according to The Politico, are threatening to quit or retire because they can't afford their premiums under Obamacare! So the same people who gave us this monstrosity, the same people who didn't have the guts to vote against this monstrosity, are now bellyaching that they can't afford it. And so they're either asking for waivers or they're running for the exits to avoid having to accept it for themselves and face any consequences. And a lot of these congresspeople are Democrats. Some of them are even demanding waivers and, failing that, they want to have their premiums subsidized by taxpayers. I am not kidding.
RUSH: Meanwhile, in addition to members of Congress wanting out, threatening to quit because of the high price of Obamacare, try this from AP: "President Obama's health care law is called the Affordable Care Act." That's the lead sentence in a big story by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. Did you know that, President Obama's health care law is called the Affordable Care Act?
Next sentence. "But a glitch could make it unaffordable for many low-wage workers, including employees at big chain restaurants, retail stores and hotels." Nice to know now, isn't it? "Here's the problem: The law requires medium-sized and large employers to offer what it calls 'affordable' coverage or face fines. But policy experts and corporate consultants say the definition of 'affordable' can mean premiums up to 9.5 percent of an employee's income."
So under Obamacare, 10% of what you earn going to health care costs is considered affordable. "And that could be unaffordable for many people making around $20,000 a year or a few thousand more. Some supporters of the law are disappointed. They say a fix will be needed. The White House says the worries are overblown. Administration officials say they expect most companies will do the right thing." Well, it's wonderful they tell us that now. How great is this, to learn after the election that coverage may be unaffordable for low-wage workers.
The dirty little secret is this was designed that way. It's designed to be unaffordable for an increasing number of people so that they panic when they can't get it and they start screaming bloody murder after they get upset at Kanye West for cheating on Kimmy. Then when they figure out they can't afford health care they start bellyaching about that and the regime says, "Don't worry about that. We'll cover you. We'll just have single payer. You know what? We'll make it for you, and we'll make it free." This is the design. This is how it's all supposed to roll out.
There's nothing affordable about the Affordable Care Act. It's gonna cost $20,000 for your average family of four. And for people making $30,000 a year, affordable is now 10% of what they earn. You make 30 grand a year, it's entirely understandable that you should spend $3,000 after taxes -- wait. You don't pay any taxes -- at least income taxes -- on your health care. My gosh, that's more than a big screen. That's more than an iPhone and two years of service on a contract. What are they expecting of you? Man, it just isn't fair, is it? It's so bad, members of Congress are quitting because they can't afford it on what they earn, which is six figures.
RUSH: From The Politico. Here the details. "Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting."
As I said, when I saw the headline, "Obamacare? We Were Just Leaving …" I thought it was gonna be an article about how Democrats are afraid of losing their seats because of the costs of health premiums and the other negatives of Obamacare, but it turns out they're just worried about themselves.
Back to The Politico story. "The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive."
What it means is, the very people who voted for this somehow got tricked into having to live under its circumstances as we are. No longer are they going to have an exemption from this law that we all have to live under. I'm not making this up. I can't believe this story actually runs today. It is a story about how members of Congress, having to face the same consequences of the law that you and I have to face, can't afford it because their premiums and benefits are no longer going to be subsidized. Therefore it's gonna be exorbitantly expensive. And, if it isn't resolved, massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain. Oh, my God.
RUSH: I don't know if it's true or not. That's just the point. I don't know when we're being played. I don't know when our intelligence is being insulted or when we're being set up. I know that the news isn't the news anymore, that everything's part of an agenda, so I pass all this stuff along to you under those provisos.
I want to finish this, at least the thrust of this Politico story. Members of Congress are leaving because no longer will their health care be subsidized, their premiums. In other words, they're going to be subject to the law like anybody else, and they're scared to death. They've never had to pay this amount of money for health care before, and they can't afford it, on what they make, over a hundred thousand dollars. They can't afford it. They wrote and signed and agreed to a law that, if left to themselves, they couldn't afford. And yet that law has become the law of the land. Now that they are, in effect, not exempt, they want to quit, they want to retire.
How is that going to be help them? Are they gonna leverage these gigs into private sector gigs where they earn more money? How is it gonna help them to walk out on $160,000-a-year jobs? That's just one question I've got about this. But The Politico says, as though they're wringing their hands (paraphrasing), "This could be very, very bad. If the issue isn't resolved and massive numbers of lawmakers indeed quit, and massive numbers of their staffers indeed quit, many people on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of important issues, like fights over the tax code and immigration reform." Are you kidding me? A brain drain? The combined IQ of these people might equal a pencil eraser.
What kind of loss are we talking about here? This irritates me. Sorry. It just irritates me. "The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant."
Oh! Oh! They stay on the current plan if they quit. Now, why didn't I think of that? See, in my world, when you quit something, you quit. Like if I quit this job, nobody's gonna pay me anymore. I don't get a pension. I don't have anybody paying me. If I quit, that's it. I don't live in the world where you quit something and you continue to get paid. I never have lived in that world, but now I understand. Somehow if they stay, they are subject to the law. If they quit or retire, somehow they're not subject to the law. At least that's my interpretation.
"Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant." So the way I'm reading that, if they retire, they somehow stay on the pre-Obamacare health care plan they have. I don't pretend to understand how that works. But if they don't quit, then they don't get to stay on their current health care plan; they're subject to the one they passed for all of us, and the poor babies can't afford it. And now we're concerned because they're so smart that if they leave, it's gonna be a real problem for the country because some of the smartest and brightest people -- ahem -- are leaving on the cusp of these important, weighty issues, like immigration and tax reform.
"Pete Sessions, Republican, Texas: 'It’s a reality. This is the law. … It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.' He said his fellow lawmakers are having 'quiet conversations' about the threat."
There has to be something I'm missing here. As I have read this to you, does any of this make any sense to you? I'm gonna get a phone call from some member of Congress. H.R.'s phone is probably ringing now. 'Cause none of this makes any sense.
"Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner said the threat is already real, especially for veteran lawmakers and staff. If they leave this year, they think they can continue to be covered under the current health care plan." The Affordable Care Act, which is anything but -- just like what did Obama call his stimulus? What was the name of the stimulus bill? It was the exact opposite of whatever it actually did. There's nothing affordable about Obamacare, and there was nothing that was stimulating about the stimulus, whatever its official name was.
Here we go. "The Affordable Care Act -- signed into law in 2010 -- contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are 'created' in the bill or 'offered through an exchange' -- unless the bill is amended. Currently, aides and lawmakers receive their health care under the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The government subsidizes upward of 75 percent of the premiums for the health insurance plans."
In other words, they're demanding an exemption from Obamacare or they're gonna quit. That's right, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. What an absolute joke that name was. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. And now we have the Affordable Care Act, and it's so affordable that members of Congress can't stay in office, and they're earning six figures. What about the rest of you? So, in other words, they're demanding an exemption here from Obamacare; and, failing that, they want to have their insurance subsidized by the taxpayers.
"In 2014, most Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers are expected to be put onto the exchanges --" like all of you, "-- and there has been no guidance whether the government will subsidize those premiums." Aww! So they're not certain whether the government's gonna subsidize their health care going forward. "This is expected to cause a steep spike in health insurance costs." Isn't it amazing how that works? Isn't this classic? The reason I'm having trouble with this is, again, can they be this -- I don't know -- obtuse? I mean, complaining about this in public? Having this story? There must be some sense of entitlement to holding public office.
I am continually surprised at what apparently is just an utter lack of common sense. Are we supposed to feel sorry? Is the purpose of this Politico story, are we supposed to feel sorry? The current salary for 2013 rank-and-file members of the House, Senate $174,000 a year. Now, stop and think about what we're being told in this Politico story: $174,000 a year, and people earning that cannot afford the new health care costs. Let me make a subtle change. It's not that they can't afford it. They don't want to. They don't want to have to pay that much more for health care than they already are paying. That's really what this about. At $174,000 a year, they can afford it. You make adjustments elsewhere in your lifestyle. They don't want to.
But we're supposed to feel sorry and we're supposed to worry about the brain drain? We're supposed to worry about all the brilliance that might vanish from high atop Capitol Hill? So then what are we supposed to do? Is there supposed to be able to a mass movement among all of us to exempt members of Congress from Obamacare so that we don't lose their brain power? I don't think it's gonna fly, if that's the objective.
"There have been many options for fixing the problem discussed throughout the year, including administrative fixes and legislative tweaks. One scenario seen as likely on Capitol Hill would have OPM simply decide that the government could still subsidize insurance on the exchanges. House Democratic leadership says the issue must be resolved. 'The leadership has assured members that fixing this issue is a top priority,' said one Democratic leadership aide. 'This issue must be fixed by administrative action in order that the flawed Grassley Amendment’s spirit is honored and all staff and members are treated the same.'"
This is chutzpah like I have not seen. That's why I think I'm missing something. They can't be this -- I guess they can be. Obamacare for thee but not for me.
RUSH: I want to put something in perspective here for you on what happened here with this Politico story because it revolves around the Grassley amendment, and basically Grassley -- senator from Iowa -- devised this amendment as a "gotcha" during the debate over Obamacare. His amendment was intended to demonstrate that congressional staff would want to avoid the exchanges. And instead, the Democrats surprised him by agreeing to it. So the Grassley amendment became part of Obamacare. Now that it's being implemented, now the Democrats are trying to roll it back. They didn't want him to get away with this "gotcha" because Grassley was trying to expose the hypocrisy. And instead of allowing Grassley to get away with that, they agreed to it.
Now that it's come time to implement this thing, now they're trying to roll it back, to get an exemption, congressional staff. They're whining and moaning that they can't afford it, that they might have to quit, as though we're all supposed to be worried about, "No, no, please don't quit! Oh, we need you so badly." No. That's not gonna be the reaction. The reaction's gonna be, "What? You can't afford it on $174,000? You can't afford it on $125,000? You can't afford it on a hundred thousand? Sorry, we have no tears for you." That's gonna be the reaction.
RUSH: Mikhail in Lincoln, Nebraska, welcome to the program. Glad you waited. Hi. How are you, sir?
CALLER: I'm doing great. I'm a Rush Baby finishing school, so mega dittos.
RUSH: You are a female?
CALLER: It's Mikhail, yes.
RUSH: Glad to have you.
CALLER: Well, I just wanted to call you and tell you how right you always are, and when it comes to The Politico piece that you shared at the beginning of the show, you are right on as always. And what I wanted to do was to apply the Limbaugh Theorem to what we see in The Politico article about the members of Congress being all up in arms that suddenly their health care is gonna be so expensive.
CALLER: The Limbaugh Theorem says that Obama isn't gonna take the heat for any of it, and I think I see that in this article. Obamacare is gonna be terrible. Anyone who knows anything knows it's gonna be awful, and his name is attached to it, obviously, so we can't have him --
RUSH: You know, I gotta tell you something, you're really on to something, because in this Politico story it's not called Obamacare. It's called the Affordable Care Act. It isn't called Obamacare. Now, it's a minor point, but these people in Congress who are all, "Oh, my God, I can't afford it," you're right. None of this is Obama's fault!
CALLER: No, it's not, it's not Obama's fault. And so what they're trying to do is now they're trying to say, "See, even the rich can't afford it. Health care is way too expensive. Obama needs to save us." And so they're trying to shore up support because it's gonna be bad. And so I just wanted you to know that you were right, and the Limbaugh Theorem is right, and, you know, you've given us the tools to see through things like this so that we don't have to be fooled and we don't have to scratch our heads.
RUSH: I appreciate that because, you're right, it does answer almost everything.
RUSH: Here's Doug in Wichita. Doug, glad you called. Great to have you here, sir.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Big fan, of course. Well, I am a family physician that played the insurance game for many years, was completely fed up with it, and wondered why it is that every other service person -- whether it's a plumber or an electrician or a mechanic -- they're able to charge cash for their fee, and yet physicians, when we transfer or transition out of a insurance model into a cash-only model, everybody goes into an uproar as if this isn't a business also. So we've gotten a lot of attention here in the middle of the country with what we're trying to do, you know, there's concierge and all sorts of models.
RUSH: Well, you're trying to stay in business.
CALLER: Right. And if you look at the market, my partner and I, he said, if we could build this thing from scratch, what would we do at the clinic? One, no insurance. Two, we run a membership model that it's a monthly fee, $10 for kids, $50 per month, for adults. A lot of people spend more on Starbucks. But for that they can come in as much as they need, free procedures in the office, medications and labs discounted. We have saved people more money on the community-funded free clinics than what it cost --
RUSH: Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. I just want to know the financials here. How in the world can you charge somebody as little as $10 a month, $50 for adults and give them free procedures? What kind of free procedures are you talking about?
CALLER: Laceration repair, putting in stitches, doing wound dressings, if we need to cut off moles, toenail removals, joint injections with steroids, you name it. I mean, if I can do it in my office -- you know, even an EKG.
RUSH: If I wanted to, if I wanted to strike like an advertising deal with you, I could offer members of this audience five free stitches for the wound of their choice, as long as I paid you.
CALLER: If hey want to go out and hurt themselves.
RUSH: Well, yeah. (Laughing.)
CALLER: It's not an abusable thing. I mean, people don't get injured or you know, we freeze off warts for free. People don't get warts just to come in and have them frozen off. But if you look at the power in numbers, a lot of doctors have to have several thousand people to keep their office full.
CALLER: We limit to 500 or 600. Every patient gets at least a half-an-hour appointment, same-day appointment.
RUSH: Well, you know, the reason why you catch grief for this is because it isn't fair. Not everybody can afford your prices, not everybody can do health care without insurance. So you are essentially establishing a caste system, a class system, where you're saying insurance people are undesirable. That's why they jump all over you. They try to make it out like you're some greedy, selfish, unfeeling, uncaring dork.
CALLER: Right. We recommend a high deductible insurance, but one family, in particular utilizing a high deductible plan, three-member family, two adults and a child --
RUSH: I just gonna tell you, time is running out. We did the story yesterday about this kind of thing, and it's gonna start up more and more. As Obamacare is implemented, people are going to seek and people are gonna offer affordable alternatives. It's a fluid, free market still, despite what the Democrats are trying to do.