Rotella on The Obama Care Bubble Refilled

Carrie Sheffield: Hey there. Good morning and welcome back to Just the News AM. I am Carrie Sheffield and glad that you’re with us. Joined again by Congressmen Jerry Carl, also joined by Bryan Rotella. He’s the founding and managing partner of GenCo Legal and a healthcare expert. Good morning, Brian.

Bryan Rotella: Good morning.

Carrie Sheffield: Let’s talk about Obamacare and the enrollment window that Biden has opened back up again. So reporting about this, the new Obamacare enrollment window is opening as Congress is battling for more COVID aid. The enrollment period during the coronavirus pandemic is an early test of President Joe Biden’s strategy to use the Affordable Care Act as a springboard toward health coverage for all, according to the Associated Press. Advancing on a parallel track, the new COVID-19 relief bill from House Democrats would offer a generous though temporary increase in subsidies for people covered by the law known as Obamacare. The word temporary, I’m reminded of what Ronald Reagan said about the closest thing to eternal life is a government program. Do you think these would actually be temporary? If they’re in this bill, would they ever be rolled back?

Bryan Rotella: I think you can answer that question for me, Carrie. Yeah, no, it’s not temporary, but I’m going to quote someone else, Mark Twain. It was in the movie … You know me and pop culture, I love movies, The Big Short. “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you in trouble. It’s what you think for sure is going to happen and it just ain’t so, that gets you in trouble.” Now, guess what we’re doing here, what the Biden administration is doing with this open enrollment for 90 days, February 15th until May 15th. They are quadrupling down on what didn’t work during the Oba- the last term of the Obama administration. What’s happening now is during the pandemic, how many people who are not well, who have not been going to the doctor … I’m a healthcare attorney. I can tell you for my clients, there is a real epidemic in this country of people not getting preventive care for important stuff, cancers, screenings, and all these other types of things.

Bryan Rotella: Obamacare took away pre-existing condition rating. There’s no way to look at these people’s healthcare history. So the analogy I made back to The Big Short a little bit ago, you are basically saying, all right, folks, come on in, get on health insurance, heavily subsidized. We have no idea how healthy you are or not. There also may be people that have COVID, that have some of the long hauler conditions that we’re seeing. Eventually, those premiums are going to explode. That’s exactly what happened in what, 2015, 16? The markets, the insurance carriers started pulling out of the markets. Remember in some places, counties, we’d have one insurance carrier? It’s going to happen again. But what you said in the Associated Press that I completely agree with, but I’m not going to say springboard. It’s a Trojan horse for Joe Biden’s public option, and to say, “Hey, here’s the great thing, too big to fail. Let’s bail out the whole thing with universal healthcare.” That is what-

Carrie Sheffield: Bryan, I feel like you’re a voice in the wilderness. You’re the oracle, the prophet. No one’s listening to you, Bryan. The Congressman’s got a question for you.

Jerry Carl: Bryan, I’ve got a background in healthcare. I think you answered my question when you called it a Trojan horse, but I think Obamacare was the Trojan horse also. It got us into … it got the federal government into 100% healthcare. This is going to taking us into a new step and the new step’s going to be covered for everyone at any price. The insurance companies have to make profits. They have to show profits to stay in business. But when you start increasing that base and you get sicker folks in, you got to expect premiums to go up. This term, affordable, I’m just curious who came up with the term affordable healthcare, because it has just exploded. With this and expanding that window of opportunity for people to get in it, it’s going to make it much, much worse, much, much worse, especially considering the conditions we’re in right now with the COVID.

Bryan Rotella: Congressman, thank you. With your history, you know this well. I couldn’t agree anymore, but what people don’t understand about insurance. Again, I know I’m a lawyer. I deal with insurance all the time. Insurance is supposed to predict what’s going to happen in the future. It’s not supposed to cover what we know is already happened. Would you give insurance or buy an insurance policy if you knew you had smoke coming out of the back of your house for fire insurance? No. No. So this preexisting condition argument that’s been going on since 2010, sounds really good to the American people. No, I don’t want to be rated. Folks, Carrie, you know this, I’m public. I have Crohn’s disease. I take medications. No one wants to be rated for preexisting conditions.

Bryan Rotella: But getting coverage, that’s like going back to the mortgage analogy. That you’re really getting a subprime loan that’s got a balloon payment on it at some point, that doesn’t help folks with pre-existing conditions. What congressmen, what you’re getting at, which the prior administration was doing a really good job, I thought, was getting to the core of the issue. Costs, like with favored nations, where you could get drugs cheaper in other nations and get those drugs set at the price of, let’s say, what they’re set in Canada, or set over in Europe. Looking at things like buying insurance across state lines, short-term policies. These were all targeted to drive costs down. Guess who hated that? Big pharma, big health systems. Ultimately, guess what they really like? They like universal coverage. That’s a whole bunch of consumers.

Carrie Sheffield: All right, Bryan, just while we got you real fast, I want to get your take. You’re down there in Florida. You got a pulse on what’s happening, especially in the Trump world. There’s a poll by Politico and Morning Consult. They were looking at GOP voters to see how do they view McConnell compared to Trump? Trump overwhelmingly is way more favorable among the GOP voters compared to McConnell. It’s 34% favorable for McConnell, but 53% unfavorable compared to Trump, 81% favorable, and only 18% unfavorable among Republicans. Where do you weigh in on this?

Bryan Rotella: I’d love to see the poll, Carrie, with Governor DeSantis and Senator McConnell. Living here in Florida, we are a big fan of our governor. I’m sitting in my office today. We are working at GenCo, and we’re doing it safely. The governor has done a great job. So I would love to see that poll because I think the governor has got a really bright future. I’m going to go flip back to healthcare again on Senator McConnell and say one thing. 2017, I know the late John McCain took a lot of heat for what happened with that healthcare bill that didn’t go through, but who was the Senate majority leader? It was Mitch McConnell. It didn’t happen. The president couldn’t run on it in 2020.

Carrie Sheffield: All right. Hey, we’re going to keep an eye, and maybe in 2024, we’ll see DeSantis running. All right, we’ll be right back with more with the congressmen. Stay tuned.