GLENN: You know, I am so tired of Washington, DC. I have to tell you, I -- I think -- I have to apologize for, you know, my behavior over the last year and a half. When I was fighting for Ted Cruz, you know, I believed that we could fix this country because we could refer -- you know, we could go back to the Constitution. I think you were ahead of me. You know that Washington, DC, is so broken, that there's no one going back to the Constitution. It's just not going to happen in today's climate. So I apologize for actually believing. You were ahead of me on that.
Let's look at what's happening with the health care bill.
GLENN: Health care bill -- and we have to --
PAT: Well, keep in mind, this is Republicans. So they're fixing it. This is going to be -- it's fixed.
JEFFY: Keep in mind, it's the beginning. It's just the beginning.
PAT: It's repeal and replace. And I'll bet you, they've really taken a hard stand here.
GLENN: Keep in mind, we're at 11:08 Eastern Time in the morning, if you happen to listen to this show delayed. So we're just getting the bill. It's just been released. So we're kind of -- Stu is looking at the whole bill. We're looking at the reads of the bill. So we can't give you our opinion quite yet on this. But we will tomorrow.
They have -- they've released the G.O.P. Senate version. The Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017. It looks more than a little like the House bill, which kept most of Obamacare's structure in place. The Senate plan actually looks closer to Obamacare, that is already on the books.
You don't have to be told this. But this is why I'm so sick of Washington, DC. And I apologize to you.
The average plan has -- has risen by 22 percent. By the way, that was last year. The average plan rose in cost by 22 percent.
PAT: Bearing in mind, that this was going to save everybody $2,500 per family, per year. Remember? That was the promise.
GLENN: Yeah. In just the last year. And early reports show large spikes are coming this year as well.
The -- the for-profit health insurance providers -- you know, the people who actually think we need to be able to make money to be able to keep this thing running, have lost so much money, they've either scaled back their participation, or have dropped out entirely. Obamacare is collapsing now. The -- unlike the House plan, the Senate plan does not allow states to apply for a waiver to opt out of those rules. But it does eliminate the health insurance mandate.
Here's Stu to give us -- who has been trying to read this 148-page summary on exactly what it means.
STU: It's pretty -- I mean, it's interesting. Here is -- I like this -- to give you the boildown here to start: It is exactly what critics predicted.
This is from Reason.
A bill that at least in the near-term retains weakened versions of nearly all of Obamacare's core features, while fixing few, if any of the problems that Republicans say they want to fix. It is Obamacare-lite, the health care law that Republicans claim to oppose, but less of it.
It represents a total failure of Republican policy imagination. Here's some of the details of it. Even more than the House plan, the Senate plan --
GLENN: By the way, can I ask -- I heard last night the Republicans are saying they wanted to keep Donald Trump away from this bill because it was so hard to get done, and they just wanted him, because they were afraid he would make a mess of this, that they wanted to keep him away from this bill.
STU: I don't know if that's true.
GLENN: That's what I heard. I saw a report and I saw the actual screen grab of that text coming from a congressman.
And looking at this, how could have anyone made this worse?
STU: He's apparently been lobbying for it. He's -- reportedly was lobbying Rand Paul to try to get him to vote for it. Mike Lee had also been lobbied, reportedly by Ted Cruz on this, to see how he could get down the road. So --
PAT: Does that mean Ted Cruz is for it?
STU: No, that's not been announced. It just was one report.
GLENN: There are four -- I don't know who they are yet, but there are four -- they need all but two Republicans to sign up.
GLENN: And there are Republicans who said, from what I know so far, I'm not interested, but I'm not ruling it out.
STU: And that's -- look, I think that's -- you shouldn't rule it out yet. Right?
GLENN: No, you shouldn't, until you've read it.
STU: There's lots of debate to happen. The problem is, what usually happens in these debates is the bill gets worse.
GLENN: It gets worse.
STU: But -- so let me give you some more, the actual details of this. Again, this is the new Senate version of the, quote, unquote, repeal and replace bill from Obamacare.
Even more than the House plan, the Senate plan retains the essential structure of Obamacare's individual market reforms. Like the House plan, the Senate plan retains Obamacare's major insurance regulations, including the requirement to cover preexisting conditions at the federal level.
GLENN: Okay. So that's the thing that Chuck Schumer said, it's a very, very sad bill. I'm sorry. Very, very mean bill.
Because they were saying that they wanted to take out preexisting conditions. So you understand -- so your friends understand, the entire thing about insurance is -- and this has been lost through SSI, Social Security Insurance. That's not insurance. That's a guarantee. Health care is not a guarantee. The way insurance works is you're in pools of people, and the bigger the pool, the better. But what do we do? We break those pools up. You cannot cross state lines. So I can't be in a pool with people all across the country.
So what happens? If you're put in the pool, the company is betting that you're not going to get sick, knowing that some people will be born with cerebral palsy, and somebody will have a heart attack, and somebody in their pool will have cancer. But it's not a sure thing.
If I said, "I'm going to cover everyone who has cancer," and you don't have to pay me prior to having cancer, that's a losing proposition. Cancer centers can't do that. The American Cancer Society can't do that. If you want to cover everyone with cancer, then you should demand that the American Cancer Society covers everyone with cancer.
No one can afford to do that.
PAT: And this is why we said at the beginning, if this passes, there's no getting rid of it.
PAT: Because once you've given this to people, it's nearly impossible to take it away.
GLENN: You can't take it. And if you wanted to do something, where people had preexisting conditions of some -- something, then you -- and you can't feel like you can't take it away. Okay. Then come up with a government program, which I'm completely against. But I'm not hearing anybody say this. That is outside of the insurance system. Come up with something different for people with preexisting, catastrophic conditions that need help.
Okay. I don't like that. I would never propose that. But that's the way you do it, to protect the insurance for people who have the sniffles and the cold and a broken arm.
What's happening is, people are not -- you have insurance -- and I can't go to the insurance company and say, "Hey, I just broke my arm -- I need to you -- I need you to sign up." No, I'm sorry. You can't sign up once you've broken your arm. But that's what is happening. You don't have to have the insurance. You don't have to pay in. But you're guaranteed, if you have a preexisting condition, to get it.
So I've never paid a dime to an insurance company. I'm not paying in for the pool.
PAT: Why not just wait till you get sick and then sign up? Why not?
GLENN: Right. And I sign up. And then the insurance company has to take you and cover you.
PAT: This is why so many -- so many insurance companies have dropped out of the exchanges. They just can't do it.
GLENN: If this continues, insurance companies will go out of business.
GLENN: Now, they signed -- I have no sympathy at all for these insurance companies.
STU: Many of them pushed for this, for Obamacare.
GLENN: Yes. And the biggest ones did.
STU: And, of course, you know, I don't know, could it be because it benefits them in the long-run? I mean, basically what they have designed is a system that legally required people come into their store and buy their product.
STU: So, of course, obviously you're going down a road here which ends likely in them, you know, getting -- their industry getting money from every single citizen in the country.
GLENN: But it doesn't -- but it doesn't work that way.
STU: It doesn't work here. This is a half step -- again, I don't think any of it works. But insurance companies like it for that reason.
GLENN: Here. Let me explain this outside of insurance. If the NFL said everybody has to --
GLENN: Listen to me.
STU: Oh, no. We're going to the sports analogy.
GLENN: No, no, no. We're okay.
STU: Okay. We're okay.
PAT: Danger, Will Robinson. Danger.
GLENN: Everybody has to buy NFL season tickets.
GLENN: And everybody has to buy it, but the government then said, you have to guarantee that those people who already have season tickets gets season tickets and those are free. Those are -- don't have to worry about it. They pay regular price. You know, and it's a reduced price. But then no one else in the country is buying their season tickets because they didn't want them. And it doesn't matter to them. What the hell is going to happen to the NFL? Now, the NFL is just having to buy all their own tickets? There's no -- they're not making any money. I think they thought, well, if we get everybody in the country to pay, we're going to make tons of money. Nobody is doing it. Nobody is doing it.
STU: Yeah. I hate to step on your point here, which is a good one. And obviously the preexisting conditions argument is something we've had for a long time. However, that argument is completely irrelevant in our society right now. Currently, Obamacare guarantees preexisting conditions. The House bill guarantees preexisting conditions. The Senate bill guarantees preexisting conditions. And the president has said he must have preexisting conditions in any bill that he would support. So it is like there is no one on the other side, outside of nine people in this audience, who actually think insurance is insurance anymore.
GLENN: Right. Right. And so that's the problem. If you want to take preexisting conditions and come up with something that's not insurance, then that's good. Or if you say, all right. We're going to do preexisting conditions -- we as the United States of America believe that no one should have to worry about a catastrophic failure. And, you know what, there's a lot to be said for that. That no one in this country should ever have to lose their house because they have cancer or their kid has cancer and they've lost everything. Okay.
So we as a society step in and say, we're going to take care of you. I don't think that's a wise idea. But it's charitable and it's nice and it makes us feel good. And it is a nice thing to do.
Okay. Great. But that's not insurance. So let's solve that problem. And then, how can we make the insurance that everybody needs really cheap? They're not doing that.
They're not making insurance more cheaply. They're making it much more expensive. This is only going to make things worse and collapse the entire system.
STU: Quickly on this point -- because this is point one of this. This is really not one even one that's being argued about at this point.
GLENN: Argued. Yeah.
STU: It also retains another thing that is in Obamacare, in the House plan, now in the Senate plan, and also something the president wants, which is, you keep your kids on your insurance until they're 26 years old. So the only difference here --
GLENN: How is it my kid is an adult to the government and to the doctors when they're eight, when they can -- when they could get birth control the minute they start to menstruate and have an abortion and they're an adult and they have nothing -- I have nothing to say about that. But they're a kid that I have to continue to pay for until they're 26.
STU: I will add to this, the one difference between the House and the Senate plan is some of these restrictions, under the House plan, gave the option for states to opt out, to get a waiver and opt out of some of these restrictions. Not all. But some.
GLENN: The House plan did, which was awful.
STU: The House plan did. It was already bad. The Senate plan does not give states the option to get a waiver and drop out of some of the more --
GLENN: Can you see if we can get Mike Lee on? See if we can get Mike Lee on. I'd love to hear what he has to say about this bill.
STU: I mean, it just -- you know, it's just coming out, so he may not want to.
GLENN: He may not know. But if he knows about it, maybe we can get him on tomorrow.
GLENN: All righty.
So we're looking -- so Stu says, "Glenn shut up. You've brought up two things that are not in the bill, and nobody is even arguing for." Okay. So let me ask you this: State lines. Insurance across state lines. Right? That one is in there.
PAT: I mean, that's a no-brainer. That's what everybody thought could make this so much better.
GLENN: Yeah. You're seeing that, right? I mean, Reason and Politico and everybody else.
PAT: So surely that's like point one.
STU: That is not point one. No. Per se.
PAT: Two. Okay. It's two.
GLENN: But it's at least mentioned in all the articles that you've read. I know you haven't read the full bill yet.
STU: Right. No.
GLENN: No. It's -- wait.
PAT: Where is it then? Okay. It's not in the first one or two --
GLENN: It's not in any articles about it.
So it's interesting in that --
PAT: It's hard to believe they can't even do that, isn't it?
STU: I just don't know.
GLENN: No. No. No. Hang on.
May I have an intervention? It's time for an intervention.
STU: I agree with that. I mean, it might not be the same kind of intervention you're talking about.
GLENN: You're referring to like having one with me.
STU: No. I would not.
GLENN: Okay. I think it's time for an intervention on Pat. He's like, it's crazy that they couldn't even get that done.
Stop it. Let go of that silly belief that these people will do the right thing. Stop it, Pat. It's harmful to you, your family, your relationships. Our relationship. The country.
PAT: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
GLENN: Give up on that belief.
PAT: Give up all hope in our government. In our government.
GLENN: In our government. All hope.
JEFFY: I mean, people are already giving up hope on the feed: If health care costs continue to rise, they're going to have to start selling face cream.
JEFFY: So they're worried.
GLENN: Joanna Gaines is already doing it. She's doing it.
STU: No, she's not.
STU: I actually got an email from someone, very beginning of the sort of Trump administration, from a person who was a big Trump skeptic. Did not like Trump at all.
And they said, oh, my gosh -- when these first reports were coming out -- oh, my gosh, they're going to repeal Obamacare. I can't believe this. I did not think this would happen.
Yeah, this is where we are now. Just a few months later, I mean, all of that -- even the hope I think from almost everyone on the conservative side looking at these bills is dead. Now, you hope maybe you get the individual mandate and a few of the taxes gone. And you say, "Hey, celebrate. We backed off ten on the horrible scale to a 9.5." That's all we're hoping for. That's the only thing we're even wishing for out of this bill anymore. And that is really where we are. If what you hope for is a small government and a free market and a conservative platform, you're not even hoping anymore for something good. You're hoping to take a ten and reverse it a little bit to an eight or a nine.
GLENN: I'm hoping that they don't torture me before they shoot me in the head.
STU: Okay. All right.
GLENN: That's kind of where we are. Just, will you just kill me quickly?
GLENN: Or do you have to torture me too? Back in just a second.
(OUT AT 10:32AM)
GLENN: All right. Let's -- let's go to the health care bill. We're going to give you the full rundown of this tomorrow, what it means. And then we'll hopefully talk to a couple of Senate leaders on it tomorrow. This just came out about an hour ago, so we haven't read the entire bill yet. We're trying to scan it as we go in between the breaks. Stu has a couple of updates. And then we're going to move on to something else that is happening, the border wall.
STU: Okay. So we know one of the big complaints about the House bill, was it's going to create all this instability. Some people are going to drop off insurance. Blah, blah, blah.
The way the Senate bill attempts to manage that is by buying off health insurance companies with payments Republicans previously argued were illegal and should be stopped. They're called CSR payments. Cost-sharing reduction payments. They're subsidies due to insurers through 2019. It authorizes those and back payments of those subsidies that insurers have not received. On this front, it's actually an expansion of Obamacare.
GLENN: So wait. So we're paying our tax dollars, and we're giving subsidies to insurance programs?
STU: Right. Yeah. To insurance companies to make it essentially worth their while, to reduce their cost.
GLENN: How about my freaking 21 percent increase that I paid last year as being their incentive? Jeez.
STU: Now, to give Trump some credit here, these are the payments that he, in particular, was talking -- at least had been floated in the media that Trump was talking about, withholding these payments to the insurance companies, which basically would make the entire individual market fall apart. And so this is the Senate saying, no, not only are we going to do them, we're going to give them back payments, which is actually going to give them more money and actually expand Obamacare slightly on that.
PAT: Jeez. Jeez.
GLENN: So we know that the insurance company lobby got their chit in.
STU: Yeah, they got their stuff in.
GLENN: I did say C-H.
STU: I assumed you didn't just swear in that --
GLENN: Yeah. I just saw -- I just saw kind of everybody look at each other. And I'm like, no, I just want to make sure.
PAT: I was trying to think, what was that word exactly?
STU: Yes, they got their stuff.
So this is probably -- if you want the clearest example as to what the G.O.P. Senate health care bill does -- if you just want to understand it with one little function, it's this: The House version of the repeal provided free money to people for health care, as does Obamacare. They did it based on age. The Senate bill does it based on income, which is the exact same way Obamacare does it. Here's the difference, however. Again, this is what I'm talking about, the difference of these plans. Obamacare gave free money to people up to $98,000 a year in salary. Okay. That's Obamacare.
PAT: All right.
STU: $98,000 a year.
PAT: You get free money up to 98,000. Okay?
STU: Yes. The Senate bill will give free money to people for health care, up to $86,000 a year.
GLENN: Wait. What?
STU: So that's the difference. It is -- instead of 98,000, they're making it 86,000.
GLENN: So wait. That's more money than --
STU: No. Why do I -- why do I use numbers? Why do I even use them? Why even say them out loud?
GLENN: Wait. So wait.
STU: If you earn up to $86,000 a year, under the G.O.P. plan, you'll get free money. Under Obamacare, it was 98,000. So it is a slight tiny, teeny roll back of what this was.
GLENN: Got it. Got it. Got it.
STU: And if you want to look at it easily -- you know, if what we had in 2008 was a zero and Obamacare was a ten, as far as where these plans are --
GLENN: This is a nine and a half.
STU: This is -- let's say the health -- the House plan was an eight, and this is a nine. Right?
GLENN: Which is exactly what we said it would be.
GLENN: We said it would go to the Senate and it would get worse. And everybody said, "No, no, it's going to get better."
JEFFY: Just the beginning. We're working through this one.
GLENN: Okay. All right. Okay.
STU: So there you go. You want a basic understanding. We'll get into more --
PAT: But it does two good things that we know of, right? It removes the individual mandate.
STU: Which to me -- and I've said this before many times.
PAT: Which is good.
STU: I believe is the most offensive part of Obamacare. The individual mandate.
PAT: Well, it is. It's unconstitutional.
STU: I maintain that regardless of what the Supreme Court says.
GLENN: But the individual mandate is the only thing that makes this work, supposedly.
STU: I don't know. You could argue that. You know, one person who argued the opposite of that was Barack Obama in the campaign. He said you didn't need an individual mandate. If you wanted an individual mandate, you could just --
PAT: Make people buy homes, and you won't have homeless.
STU: Have people buy homes, and there would be no homelessness. I mean, he used to mock that idea. But you're right, I mean, there is a function of it, to force people and gather all their money through tax penalties to pay for this nonsense.
GLENN: Is the Cadillac tax gone?
STU: The Cadillac tax, I have not read that on this particular bill. The House bill pushed it out, but did not remove it.
GLENN: Okay. That's craziness. How can you continue -- look, as a businessman, I cannot run my business and plan for the future when I don't know what the government is going to cost me next year or the year after or the year after that.
STU: I know.
GLENN: I have to have a stable environment to be able to run my business.
STU: And so much of this is just bookkeeping, figuring. Right?
GLENN: No. You know what it is? It's not only bookkeeping, figuring, it's also, when is the next election that we need to be the savior of the world?
STU: Exactly. For example, the Medicaid. What they're doing with Medicaid is they're slowly rolling back the Medicaid. And they're cutting it deeply. Deep cuts to this Medicaid program. And that's one of the things that the Democrats are going to say about it.
However, it pushes those cuts so far out in the future, but still within the ten-year frame. The ten-year frame is important because that's how they score these CBO bills.
So when they're -- they have to do this to get reconciliation to work. So what they're doing is, they're telling you, you know what, we're going to cut Medicaid by 900 percent, we promise, in 2026.
We all know that is not going to occur. When it comes down to 2026, they're going to just change it and start spending that money again. So it is not even real. The savings here is not even real. They're obviously going to change that later on, as they've done many times before or on both sides of the aisle.