Kilmeade and Rotella talk Coronavirus Corporate Legal Issues and The Stock Market's Take on Medicare For All
Brian Kilmeade: Joining us now to make sense of it, Bryan Rotella, esteemed attorney, Founder and CEO of Senior Partners, GenCo Legal, and he knows all about healthcare. When we start debating the number one issue that you’re going to be voting on this year, we oftentimes go to Brian. Bryan, right now, what’s the sense over in Florida and with your clients about what’s going on right now in the market?
Bryan Rotella: Good morning, Brian. First of all, it’s like Lawyerpalooza. I’ve been listening. You had Emily, you had Dan, and now you have me. I think you should be part of the American Bar Association meeting here-
Brian Kilmeade: At the very least, I should retain one of you. This is a big audition.
Bryan Rotella: Yeah, I was going to say. To answer your question, I have not in 20 years of my career seen anything like what I’ve seen in the last two weeks. The amount of questions, and you know I represent a lot of CEOs, executives, and boards of healthcare companies, what I am getting is HR questions. What do you do to prevent what I call employee zero concern. The employee who’s at your company, who tests positive for coronavirus, and then everybody is afraid and everybody has to work from home. What I heard in your lead-in, Brian, is from … again, I’m not a medical doctor, but I work with them every day, represented them forever. What I’m hearing is, we’ve blown something that is less than the flu so far out to be something where now you have a concern where companies are basically giving people free PTO and free sick time, ultimately, that’s going to have to effect their earnings and effect the market. I don’t know how much, but at some point later this year.
Brian Kilmeade: Yeah, I guess so. Now, the biggest thing we saw is when Bernie Sanders went down on Super Tuesday and now has to fight for his life on mini Super Tuesday, we saw the market soar. Why? They say it was a direct reaction to Bernie’s healthcare plan.
Bryan Rotella: That’s an easy one. I don’t know if folks out there understand, Medicare … which if he did Medicare for all, and Bernie’s plan is not Medicare for all, folks. That’s Medicaid for all, is the very most you’d get, which is not near medicare’s level. But Medicare actually reimburses doctors, hospitals, providers 40% less than commercial payers. Who are commercial players? United, the Blues, Aetna, where most people get their plans if they’re employed.
So, if you’re going to have a Medicare for all and doctors and all these folks are getting 40% less and the big payers are realizing they’re going to be out of business, well, that’s the reason that the market bounced back up after they saw Bernie was going to be out because the big health insurance payers, the big health systems know they’re going to still have a lot more money and they’re going to be having a lot better earnings under any type of Medicare for all.
Brian Kilmeade: I guess they felt better about it in the short term, but who knows what Obamacare is going to bring in, Biden’s form of Obamacare, should he win the election. We’re going to see where this bottoms out. Bryan, the other thing is, we hear about the Chinese, the Italians, they are just quarantining cities. The northern part of the country of Italy is quarantined. If they tell me to quarantine, do I have to? Legally, do I have a right to my own freedom?
Bryan Rotella: Yeah. Here in the United States, you still have your constitutional rights. You have your right to due process. At the borders, where the federal government is in place, Brian … so, the federal government has authority through the CDC to order a quarantine. The president, actually under a 2010 law, can order a quarantine. But even if he orders you to quarantine, right, you still … I think we’re going to start seeing a lot of these, you can go to an administrative hearing and say, “Was there a good fait reason? Was there a reasonable belief that you needed to be quarantined?” You’re going to now have to fight that quarantine to win it.
One thing that people aren’t talking about through this, and maybe … again, I claim to be the lawyer that hates lawyers, there’s a lawyer relief act or something in this because of the amount of laws and regulations that everyone’s having to monitor. To your point, issues that we never bring up like what happens when you quarantine someone in the United States? What are your rights? Where, quite frankly, the average person is not educated.
Brian Kilmeade: Yeah. We’ll see [inaudible 00:04:10] if you’re on one of these ships and you’re 75 years old, and now they’re telling you don’t go on these ships, and they don’t want to give you your money back, do you have an issue?
Bryan Rotella: Yeah, you do have an issue. As far as with if the ship isn’t going to give you your money back, we have a thing called Force Majure, act of god. So, you’re going to see, again, lawyers bringing claims on all of these tourists, travelers, whatever we want to call them, saying, “Wait a minute. In a million years, you never would have expected this. So, you need to give us our money back because ultimately, we didn’t get the benefit of the bargain for our trip.”
Going back to what I was talking about on the economy though, Brian, what do you do with employees who’ve planned trips for Italy or any of these other places and you, the employer, are telling them, “We don’t want you to go there because we’re going to have to quarantine you when you come back.” Employers, and I know this in real time, are starting to pay for the cancellation fees for these trips. My question is, with this hysteria that we have right now, and not underplaying, it certainly is an issue, this is going to have to catch up with companies if they are taking this type of, overly, in my opinion, conservative practices to what they’re doing with their employees based on what we know from the medical side of things.
Brian Kilmeade: Understood. Just switching to the election real quick, we have 2020, everybody’s digging in now. Today, we find out Cory Booker is now supporting Joe Biden. Now, we find our Kamala Harris is now supporting Joe Biden. Can they take their money that they got from people supporting their candidacy and turn it over to Joe Biden? Is it their right to do that?
Bryan Rotella: Specifically, to answer your question, no. They can’t just say personally, “Here is my money.” That would violate campaign finance laws. We have, basically, a limit per individual. It’s either $2,500 or $2,800 depending if it’s the primary or the general. What they can do is turn it into a super PAC, a political action committee. They can turn it over to that. That is what we saw, remember, last week with Mike Bloomberg, where he was even teasing the President a little bit on TV pretending that he was like Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars. I know you’re not a Star War fan, but bear with me, where Darth Vader strikes down Obi Wan and he says, “I’ll be stronger than ever after I’m dead, Darth.”
So, Bloomberg is saying, “Look, strike me down. I’m going to give all my money to a super PAC on behalf of Biden.” So, that’s what you’re starting to see as this democratic party is consolidating, they’re using the campaign finance laws to dump into what I believe will be a super PAC for Biden to obviously try to compete with all the money that the republicans and Trump have raised.
Brian Kilmeade: All right, Bryan, lastly, when we see these two line up, I’m a little amazed at … Mike Bloomberg put together this sophisticated organization, says, “I’m going to use all my money. I’m not going to raise any of my money.” Now, last week, he says, “I’m going to take my digital technology, the advertising and influencers that I have on social media, and I’m going to basically turn them over to the Biden team.” Is that allowed? I mean, I don’t understand why you and I have limits on how much we can donate to a campaign, but if a rich person wants to just put a zillion to one person, they’re allowed to do that?
Bryan Rotella: Yes, basically, through this backdoor, for lack of a better term, of the super PAC, the super political action committee. His employees or volunteers are all going to convert over to whatever this PAC will be called. Then they’re essentially working for Biden. It has been a glaring whole in the law, it goes back to, if you remember, McCain-Feingold and all the different times that we’ve tried to reform our campaign finance laws. We have not seen this. There is no precedent because, Trump, let’s be honest, ran a pretty frugal campaign and used social media brilliantly.
We have not seen a billionaire like Bloomberg be able to do this, where he jumped into the campaign and then, in the middle of the campaign, shifted these dollars over. The closest thing would have been, and I know you’re a student of history, and one of the best, if Ross Perot had something like this. Imagine if Perot had done this back in ’92 and shifted to George H. W. Bush or Bill Clinton.
Brian Kilmeade: He is Bryan Rotella. Bryan, thanks so much. Go to GenCo Legal or @RotellaLegal for all your issues. Bryan, thanks so much.
Bryan Rotella: My pleasure, Brian.