Dr. Tevy Troy On The Three Failed Promises Of Obamacare
HH: In hour one, I ask probably, the Republicans have three preeminent experts on health care. One of them is Dr. Tevy Troy, who’s the former deputy secretary of Health and Human Services. He writes frequently for Commentary Magazine. His most recent book, by the way, which is a terrific book if you have someone in your Christmas plans who loves popular culture and the presidency, it’s entitled What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched And Obama Tweeted: 200 Years Of Popular Culture In The White House. But that’s not what we’re going to talk about. We’re going to talk about an article you can’t read, because John Podhoretz won’t unlock it. The article is called The Three Failed Promises Of Obamacare, and John Podhoretz, if you’re listening, you should go unlock it and make it available. Is it the cover story, Tevy, of Commentary?
TT: It is not, but it’s the second story.
HH: Okay, so it’s a big story, and you wrote this before you knew what the President was going to say today. And I read it before I knew what he was going to say. And you anticipated it all. What was your general reaction to the President’s remarks today?
TT: Well, it was what I expected him to start doing in terms of using anecdotal evidence to sell Obamacare. I mean, the whole strategy is to let’s highlight everybody who gets a check or a subsidy and say this is proof that it’s working, even though the larger macro issues are extremely problematic.
HH: And let’s play and get your commentary. And you’ve got to get close to the microphone, they’re telling me in my ear, and speak up a little bit. But let’s play five cuts of the President’s speech and get your reaction to each of them, cut number one:
BO: So what’s gotten lost a little bit over the last couple of months, and our focus rightly had to shift towards working 24/7 to fix the website, healthcare.gov, for the new marketplaces where people can buy affordable insurance plans. And today, the website is working well for the vast majority of users. More problems may pop up as they always do when you’re launching something new, and when they do, we’ll fix those, too.
HH: Tevy Troy?
TT: It sounds like a low bar to me. I mean, he, he said this for the vast majority of users. I’m not really sure what that means. It’s kind of similar to the report card that came out on Sunday where it was an artificially self-graded report card in response to an artificial self-imposed Obama deadline. So I’m not sure that this is up to private sector standards or private sector velocity, which is the phrase they used.
HH: And there was actually no number, right?
TT: Right. There is no objective numbers. We are just right now relying on the White House to assure us that things are better, and we’re not going to have independent analyses for a while.
HH: Is there any independent watchdog of Healthcare.gov? Does anyone have inspector general authority over it?
TT: Well, the White House, I mean, there should be, the HHS inspector general should have authority. I’ve never seen anything from them on this. GAO should take a look at it. I’d like to see CRS, the Congressional Research Service, and so, and maybe the Congressional committees. But right now, we’re just relying on the White House word that it’s working.
HH: All right, cut number two:
BO: What we also know is that after just the first month, despite all the problems in the rollout, about half a million people across the country are poised to gain health care coverage through marketplaces and Medicaid beginning on January 1st, some for the very first time. We know that. Half a million people.
HH: Tevy Troy?
TT: Yeah, that phrase really struck me as odd, poised to gain. Does that mean they’re actually getting it? Or they’re poised to gain if a lot of things work out and if the website works smoothly? So that statement really jumped out at me. And half a million people, it seems to me, like a relatively low number compared to the larger numbers of people who are put in tumult and turmoil by losing their health care coverage.
HH: Yeah, there are 4.5 million, even if everyone poised to gain, that’s like being at the end of the diving board, executes the dive, dives and hits the mark, that still leaves 4.5 million people who had health care who won’t have health care, I believe, exposed to ruin on January 1. Am I right? If you have a catastrophic event come January 1 and your policy’s been cancelled, your old company is not going to say we’ll pay for it.
TT: There are a lot of people in a lot of trouble, and a lot of small businesses. I’m hearing from doctors’ offices that provide health care for their employees who because they’re small businesses can’t have the same health insurance that they had before.
HH: Why doctors’ offices in particular, I wonder?
TT: Well, I mean, it just…
HH: Just because they don’t employ many people?
TT: Right, they don’t employ very many people. They’re classic small businesses, and it’s kind of an ironic situation, if a doctor that provides health care for his employees, and then suddenly can’t do it because of the Obamacare changes.
HH: Wow, cut number three:
BO: That number is increasing every day, and it is going to keep growing and growing and growing, because we know that there are 41 million people out there without health insurance. And we know there are a whole bunch of folks out there who are underinsured, or who don’t have a good deal. And we know that the demand is there, and we know that the product on these marketplaces is good, and it provides choice and competition for people that allow them, in some cases for the very first time, to have the security that health insurance can provide.
HH: Now Tevy, there are a number of things in there. Number one, the number, 41 million, in your Commentary Magazine piece, you point out this number is all over the place. We don’t know what he means by that. What does 41 million say to you?
TT: Well, 41 million is an approximation of how many people don’t have health care at some point during the year. And Obama used multiple numbers during the campaign and as president, including 47 million. At one point, he said something in the low 30s. But the latest CBO numbers say that even after Obamacare is fully implemented in around 2019, there still are going to be 31 million uninsured people. So we’re putting people through a lot of tumult, a lot of change in order to still have a large number of people uninsured.
HH: 31 million people? Who will those 31 million people be? Some of them will be homeless, dysfunctional, incapable of remaining in a care system. Others will be in the country illegally. But that’s not 31 million people.
TT: Others will be the young and healthies who don’t want to participate in the website and are now less likely to do so because the website’s such a mess. It’s not clear who all of them will be, but right now, that 47 million number, or 41 million as Obama said it today, is also a mix of different people. There are some people who you really feel bad for who are working hard and are above the Medicaid line, but can’t quite afford health insurance. And there are other people you said are illegal immigrants. Other people are these young and healthies, and then there are other people who are eligible for government programs right now but not taking advantage of it.
HH: And that’s part of the Medicaid expansion. Okay, next, cut number four:
BO: The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future. People want the financial stability of health insurance. And we’re going to keep on working to fix whatever problems come up. In any startup, any launch of a project this big that has an impact on one-sixth of our economy, whatever comes up, we’re going to just fix it, because we know that he ultimate goal, the ultimate aim is to make sure that people have basic security and the foundation for the good health that they need.
HH: Tevy Troy?
TT: Well, he says it’s working. Again, that’s his assertion. I’m not sure it’s going to work out so well. But also, I think I set up in my Commentary piece a three-part test to determine if this law is actually effective. Number one, it is the cost, how much is this costing and is it bending the cost curve down. Number two, the coverage, I already talked about 31 million supposedly still uninsured in 2019. And the third, if you like your health care, you can keep it, is that promise going to be true? We’re seeing it’s not true in the individual market. You mentioned the 4.5 million. But I think it’s not going to be true in the employer-covered population as well.
HH: Now we’ll come back to that. Let’s play the fifth quote, and then we’re going to talk about the specifics, and then we’ll take phone calls, by the way, America, 1-800-520-1234 if you want to react to the President’s comments today about Obamacare, because he made a sweeping declaration sort of Grant-like. I intend to fight on this line if it takes all summer. He’s not retreating. Here’s cut number five:
BO: We may never satisfy the law’s opponents. I think that’s fair to say. Some of them are rooting for this law to fail. That’s not my opinion, by the way. They say it pretty explicitly. Some have already convinced themselves that the law has failed, regardless of the evidence. But I would advise them to check with the people who are here today, and the people that they represent all across the country whose lives have been changed for the better by the Affordable Care Act.
HH: Now you write in your Commentary piece it’s going to be very hard for conservatives to say anything good about the law. It’s going to be very hard for liberals to say anything bad about the law. The President just made it harder for any conservative to say anything good about the law with that statement, by condemning us all to being in opposition, meaning there’s nothing we can say that will influence him. It’s sort of the debate ender, Tevy Troy, not a good way to go about this.
TT: Yeah, I completely agree. I’m not rooting for the law to fail, but I am trying as an objective observer to point out some of the flaws in the law. And in the Commentary piece, I intentionally acknowledged that Republicans are unlikely to praise it, and Democrats unlikely to condemn it just so that we can set up objective metrics. Does this law work? And so how will we determine this over the years?
HH: Do you trust anyone’s analysis as objective? Do you trust the CBO’s numbers? I don’t, because they’ve been so wildly, you know, garbage in-garbage out.
TT: Yeah, the CBO is engaging in speculation, which is something we all know and understand. But they are the kind of non-partisan standard. And what’s good about them is they are numbers that both sides have to agree on. They’re not always right, but at least we’re talking from the same baseline.
HH: And so is that what we ought to be using to critique the cost of it?
TT: Yeah, and in terms of looking back, they are pretty accurate about how much things cost in the past. And so that’s what we want to look at five years from now and say did this thing work.
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HH: Tevy, give people a summary of the three key points of your critique of Obamacare.
TT: Yeah, my idea was that Republicans would never judge it positively, and Democrats would never judge it negatively, so we needed objective metrics to determine whether this law is a success or not. And so the number one metric I set up was the cost. Does it bend the cost curve down, which is what President Obama promised.
HH: As he promised many times.
TT: Many, many times.
HH: As every Democrat said.
TT: Right. The second metric was coverage. President Obama kept talking about 47 million uninsured. Today, he talked about 41 million uninsured. The number varied over time. But will this law cover significant amounts of previously uncovered people? And the third metric is the President’s promise if you like your health care, you can keep it. We’ve heard a lot about this promise with the problems in the individual market. But the much larger percentage of people, 156 million people, get it through their employers. And what will be the impact of Obamacare on the employer market? And I think that’s a key test.
HH: And so how did you, let’s go through the three metrics, then. How do you assess the early returns on the three metrics?
TT: Yeah, and first, let me say that I don’t want to make a definitive judgment, yet, and I think this piece is written for the long haul.
TT: But in the short term, the coverage numbers are discouraging, and CBO has said, and I mentioned earlier, that there should be about 31 million uncovered people in 2019. The initial estimate was 20 million uncovered right after the law passed. Now that’s been upped to 30 million.
TT: So that’s problematic. And that’s a lot of money to be spent on still having 30 million uncovered.
HH: Yeah, second metric…
TT: The second metric on cost, President Obama said that we would be reducing the cost of health care for a family of four by $2,500 dollars. Now Avik Roy, who I believe you’ve had on the show, and a smart guy…
HH: Many times, very smart guy.
TT: He went through this analysis that Obama did. He used the same numbers, and he came up with this figure that it would be actually increasing by $7,450 for a family of four in ten years from now.
TT: And so you go from that $2,500 minus to $7,450 plus, we’re talking an almost ten thousand dollar swing. So it’s not being cheaper for individuals, not cheaper for families, but also the government has a $6.2 trillion dollar additional obligation in the long run for us all.
HH: See, that’s the number that is stunning in your piece, $6.2 trillion additional obligated dollars. And this isn’t one of those unfunded liabilities that you can project 30 years out. It’s an actual cost that we see coming that hasn’t been budgeted for. And so I also wanted to ask, the average number of $7,500 dollars additional costs, or $2,500, these are average numbers. But in fact, the opportunity cost on every family is different. I don’t know how economists are ever going to measure this, but I can only do anecdotal stuff. I get phone calls from people all the time that tell me their real premium hike is $10,000 dollars, their deductible is up for $4,000 dollars. They’re not buying a car. You don’t buy a car, stuff doesn’t happen. Brian Wesbury says the economy doesn’t leak money, but it leaks activity. This is an activity killer, and I was surprised it looked like Black Friday was healthy, but it turned out to have dropped 2.7%. And I think Obamacare is killing our sense of the opportunity of the new year, what do you think?
TT: Yeah, I’d be curious to see what Brian Wesbury says, because he’s a smart economist. But I think in the years from now, we will look back at this as the Obamacare recession, that health care imposed so many costs on the economy and on families that people weren’t making the purchases they ordinarily did. And that leads to a general funk in hiring and purchasing, and in the economy in general.
HH: And they have to, because they really don’t know what they’re going to be paying. If they can’t make the website work until today, even if it’s up and running today, they don’t know what their bronze, silver, and that’s the other thing you touched on, the uncertainty. Now your third metric was did the President’s plan promise to keep your plan and your doctor come true? We know it did not. We know that’s fake, and it’s a lie and he’s been discredited. Would you count me, I’m employed, I am covered through my law school, the Fowler School of Law at Chapman University. Until last year, I was a Anthem Blue customer. I’ve always been a Blue customer from the first day I got insurance. The option was taken away from me. I was given a good plan. It’s a Cigna plan. And it’s an expensive plan, and I like the highest plan. I like a lot of coverage, and I can afford it, so I buy it. But it’s not the plan I had. I didn’t lose any doctors, because I use outside of the care doctors anyway. But that’s not keeping…the President’s promise was not kept to me. Do you think he thinks it was, because I am insured by a group that I was previously insured by a group?
TT: Yeah, well, if you looked at the President’s press conference where he talked about the individual market, and he kind of made excuses why those people were only a small number. You said 4.5 million people earlier. And those people had so-called bad plans. So he was sort of justifying that the promise wasn’t kept for those people. But the real test, the real question, is the much larger number of people, 156 million people, who get their health coverage through their employers like you. You got it through your law school. What is going to happen to those people? I suspect, and I’m pretty sure, that employers are going to be making major changes as a result of Obamacare, and that will mean that he promise if you like your health care you can keep it will not be true.
HH: You see, and what kind of major change? Do you think they will say see you, here is a one- time up in your pay, you’re on the individual exchange?
TT: I think employers are looking at a number of options and we don’t yet know what all the options are going to be. But there is this talk of putting people into private exchanges, which is what Walgreens did. Some companies are just going to drop coverage and let their employees fend for themselves in the subsidized exchanges if they are eligible for them. Other companies will just increase the cost of providing health care, because there are benefits to providing health care to employees. A lot of them, and a lot of employers want to do it, but if it becomes much more expensive, they have to limit the options and they have to raise the costs.
HH: And so when will we have an idea? Tevy Troy, you’ve been living this for how many years now, four, five?
TT: I’ve been focused on Obamacare for about four years now.
HH: And you wrote one of those pieces, I think I sent you a note at the time, I thought it was like the Jeane Kirkpatrick piece, but it didn’t persuade Congress to stop. It didn’t work. And Jeane Kirkpatrick’s dead. So the Congress was not susceptible to argument on this. I was asked by Brian Lamb today what’s gone wrong in America, why is talk radio so argumentative? And I said this is the moment at which the country is divided over the most important piece of domestic legislation in my lifetime, I’m 57, and there’s no turning back. It has to be repealed, or it has to go forward. And when will we know? We have one minute to the break. When will we know?
TT: I think we’re learning more all the time. We already know about the 4.5 million in the individual market. I think after the first year, we’ll know a lot about the employer market. And I think two to three years from now, we’ll know a lot about the costs. So this is an unfolding story. We don’t know everything. And one of the things I say in my piece is here are three metrics. Let’s find out what happens over time. But we don’t yet know, and we can’t say definitively what is going to happen. However, I am nervous and I’m skeptical, and I don’t think it’s going to work out okay.
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HH: Are you surprised, Tevy, that this is selling?
TT: Well, with every book, you’re a little nervous, but it’s been getting great reviews, I’ve been getting great interviews like with you and Michael Medved and Bill Bennett and all the other great Salem guys.
HH: People like presidents.
TT: And it’s filled with lots of fun stories. So I knew this book had a shot, and I’m very pleased that it’s been…
HH: And so how long did it take you to write it, though? You know, I think of you as like Mr. Academic Smart Guy, and a popular culture book came out of left field.
TT: Yeah, well, I did my dissertation on presidents and intellectuals, and I was interested in what influences presidents, and I found that intellectuals actually had very little influence. And I found that the pop culture was much more influential. So I started looking into that, and I found all kinds of great stories. And actually, my brother, Dan, whom you know from back in the Reagan administration…
TT: …heard me talk about what presidents read and what movies they watched, and he said you should do a book about it, and so I did.
HH: Oh, your brother gets a credit?
TT: He did.
HH: Shout out to Dan Troy.
TT: Mentioned in the Acknowledgements.
HH: Ah, he was a co-clerk on the D.C. Circuit. He clerked for Judge Bork, and I believe went to the Supreme Court after that, and is really one of the smarter lawyers ever. So Tevy, in terms of back to the failed promises of Obamacare, when we were going to break, we were talking about the President’s rhetoric. And you just said what Obama tweeted. His tone today is angry and defiant. Do you think he is becoming more or less like W. in his second term? You were there. How did W. respond to a failing second term? He had Katrina, he had Harriet Miers, he had the war did not turn around until 2007. And do you see Obama doing something bad or something similar to what Bush did?
TT: Yeah, look, President Bush was obviously frustrated in the second term, and I was there, and I heard him complain about it. But he also had a generosity of spirit. He had a rule that you could not denounce Democrats or criticize Democrats by name from the presidential podium. And you could talk to Dana Perino, and she said that was absolutely verboten. President Obama in his remarks today specifically called out Republican Leader McConnell. And I was actually kind of taken, shocked by it, and a little disappointed that he did that.
HH: And so it breaks another rule. The common culture of Washington, and people say it’s becoming more and more divisive and they blame Rush or they blame talk radio or they blame…but the President sets the tone in the town, and if you attack the opposition leader, A) Mitch McConnell’s awfully happy in Kentucky tonight. My audience in Louisville and Lexington, the President isn’t attacking him because he’s a RINO, right? He’s attacking because he’s effectively hamstringing him. But what would the President want the Congress to do? See, that’s a straw man. He doesn’t want them to do anything.
TT: Yeah, and in fact, you’ve heard some of this coming from the Democrats that they blame the Republicans for the faults of Obamacare or the flaws of Obamacare or the failures of Obamacare. And the Republicans have rightfully said look, we were, not only on the sidelines, but you didn’t include us. It was a unipartisan-passed bill in the Senate and in the House It did not get Republican votes. And they said look, we can pass this without you, we don’t need you. And Republicans said okay, I guess you don’t need us, so we’re standing here on the sidelines watching this. And then President Obama goes and calls out McConnell. I thought it was disappointing.
HH: Do you have Democrat friends who will confide in you off the record that they know that this is, Max Baucus said it was going to be a train wreck. No one believed him. It is now as bad as anyone thought it was going to be. It’s going to be worse in January when catastrophic illnesses are not covered. That’s what I’ve been saying forever. Wait until January, the anecdotes will pile up. But Mark Leibovich said the media has a group think about this. Will they cover that failure? Or will they say the website’s working, therefore the program’s working?
TT: Yeah, I think there was some nervousness by Democrats over the last six weeks, and some willingness to break, although not that much. I think now that they can say that the website’s working, and you’re going to see people getting subsidies, you’re going to find it very unusual for Democrats to be criticizing the President or the website going forward.
HH: And what about the media? Will they cover the…we know what those stories are going to be. People will not be covered who had coverage. They are either going to have to blame them for not using the website, or for refusing to participate, or they’re going to have to say the system was flawed. What do you think they’ll do?
TT: Yeah, I think Leibovich was right about the group think going in, but the failure of the Obamacare website is a great story. And journalists do like great stories. So I think we’ll see continued coverage of that aspect of it.
HH: Did you see the security story today? I was told, and we’ll be talking about it in hour three, that there’s a security story by an expert on Fox that this thing is the worst-protected data vault?
TT: No, but I saw Mike Rogers, chairman of the Intelligence Committee saying that the security is not up to industry standards.
HH: You see, Rogers is a smart guy, too, former FBI guy.
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HH: And he tells me that one of his former deputies at HHS is running for the Senate up there [in Nebraska]. Give him a shout out, Tevy, since you’re on the air.
TT: Yeah, Ben Sasse is running for Senate in Nebraska, a very smart guy, and he was profiled in the Weekly Standard by our good friend, Mark Hemmingway.
HH: How old is Ben?
TT: Ben is about 42 years old.
HH: Perfect. No one under, I have a new rule which is nobody over 50 should run for Congress, because we don’t have enough years left. All right, time to get to the phones. Let’s start in Denver with Jo. Jo, you’re on the air with Tevy Troy, his article on Obamacare available now at www.commentarymagazine.com. Go, Jo.
Jo: Yes, thank you very much for taking my call. I’ve been listening to the conversation this afternoon about Obamacare and the idea that no Republicans will find anything positive about it and no Democrats will find anything negative about it. I just want to say I’m a lifelong Democrat and frankly disgusted to say so as of right now. I am livid over Obamacare, and livid over the ongoing double talk and deception coming from Obama.
HH: Now Jo, my audience will not believe you are a Democrat. Are you really a Democrat?
Jo: Absolutely am. Absolutely. I’m 51 years old, I’m a Colorado native, I have voted Democrat my entire life. And what I will tell you is I am one of the individuals whose policies will be cancelled as of January, and I’ve been forced into the Obamacare health exchange. And I see this, unfortunately, too late, and that it is a complete travesty.
Jo: My plan was not a bad plan, by the way. But I’m looking at getting a plan which the least expensive to me will result in much more expensive coverage, inferior coverage, with fewer benefits. And if I take that least expensive option, I’ll lose the doctors that I’ve had for over 25 years. And that’s significant to me. And I’m at a point where I do believe in help, that the pendulum will swing, because I can tell you again as a lifelong Democrat, I will not support a candidate who supports the ongoing continuation of Obamacare.
HH: Tevy, your reaction to that. That’s a powerful call.
TT: Yeah, Jo, I wrote my piece for people like you. When I said that no Democrats will condemn it, or no Republicans will praise it, I was talking about professional Democrats, professional Republicans, people in the media bubble, or legislators who have a vested interest in their particular party. What I was trying to establish in the piece was this notion that individual Americans, whatever party they are from, have to make their own decisions about Obmaacare, whether it’s successful and whether it meets this three-part standard that I established, and whether it’s a law that the American people want to continue to live with. So when I say no Democrat will condemn it, I don’t mean individual Democrats who are affected by it. I meant the professional Democratic class here in Washington, D.C.
HH: Jo, you sounded like there’s some emotion in your voice. Are you upset?
Jo: You bet there is. You bet there is, because I’ll tell you, although I’ve been a lifelong Democrat, I am not one of these left-wing liberal Democrats. And I suspect that there are plenty out there who take the position of, and who make enough money, who will say not a problem, I’m willing to pay more because it’s for the common good. There are a lot of things I’d like to do, you know, in my life and financially that I can’t. And this will be a financial hardship for me, and I do not believe that I’m alone in saying that.
HH: Jo, go read the article over at Commentary Magazine. You’re not. One of the things, Tevy, I wanted to point out, you in your article point out the enormous costs of Obamacare which are hidden. People just don’t even begin to glimpse how much money this has cost us.
TT: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. I mentioned the $6.2 trillion dollars long term obligations earlier. That’s a CBO number. But there’s also the tax hikes, which are over $1 trillion. And then the way they made the law supposedly budget neutral in the first ten years was by backloading the costs and frontloading the revenues, including the $716 billion dollars in Medicare cuts. So it was some fancy maneuvering of what, how they knew CBO did scoring, Congressional Budget Office did scoring. And by doing that, they were able to make it appear budget neutral. But in the long term, it is going to be far from that.
HH: All right, let’s go to Ohio. Who’s calling in from Ohio? Mark in Ohio, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show with Tevy Troy.
Mark: Mr. Troy, I really enjoyed your article in Commentary, and it got me to thinking that I don’t think the general public has any common perception of well, what does the right stand for? And I know Dr. Price down in Georgia has had some ideas, and Paul Ryan’s had some ideas, but I don’t know, maybe you could write a piece or Podhoretz could do one of those symposiums in Commentary, or maybe right now, you could kind of give us an overview of what are the major ideas and how do they differ? I know Goodlatte down in Texas has ideas, and you have politicians who have ideas. But I can’t think of, and I think I’m fairly well read, I can’t think of anything that’s the average Joe Q. Public thinks that this is what the right stands for. You know, you’ve got to fight something with something. You can’t just say you’re against Obamacare forever.
TT: Yeah, it’s a great point, Mark, and first of all, I’m very impressed that you’ve already read the Commentary piece, which just came out in the December issue. So thank you for that. In terms of Republican positions on health care, I think Republicans have a lot of proposals on health care. Their disadvantage is that they don’t have a standard bearer. They don’t have a president in office. They don’t have a presidential nominee who is saying this is the Republican position. But if you look, there are guys like Paul Ryan who have plans. The House Republicans actually had a plan that I liked in 2009 that would allow people to purchase across state lines, use association health plans, expand HSA’s and do tort reform. And the CBO, Congressional Budget Office, scored that plan to reduce the average cost of premiums for families. So I think that was a good plan. I think it might need the inclusion of some kind of tax credit or tax exclusion in order to foster more coverage for more people, but I think there are Republican ideas out there that are proven to work, and I’d like to see them put into action.
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HH: Gary in Atlanta, you’re on the Hugh Hewitt Show, go.
Gary: Good evening, Hugh, and Dr. Troy, thank you for taking my call. Just a quick observation on a bit of research and a question, if I might ask. Number one, nobody’s buying into this, the Republicans are at fault. I don’t know a single soul out there that buys that. I did a little bit of research on the CEO of Aetna and the CEO of United Healthcare. And together over the last past two years since November, 2011, they’ve cashed in $28 million and $93 million dollars’ worth of stock options. They don’t need the money. I don’t know what grand bargain was struck, but my question is this. What would it take, do you think, for the low simmer to turn into a rapid boil in the American population, and by this, I mean what would it take for September of next year to be the timeframe? What could we do to create a catalyst to get the insurance companies to publish with the corporations the enrollment, and move it into September, prior to the elections?
HH: All right, good question, Tevy. I don’t see that happening, do you? I don’t know that there’s a coordinated capability there.
TT: I think also the Democrats are very conscious of that election, and they don’t want to have any of these key moments right before that 2014 election. They’re already worried about it enough. One quick point on the GOP at fault, I didn’t say that people are buying it. But I did say the Democrats are selling it.
HH: Absolutely. And one more call, who do I have left, guys? Rick on Houston, you’ve got to be quick with Tevy Troy.
Rick: Yes, thank you very much for taking my call. Hey, I just, I would love to hear a little bit more from Dr. Troy whether he has heard some of the conservative Republican free market solutions that seem to be, that may offer a cohesive, elegant solution to maintain and preserve some of the things that the public seems to want from Obamacare, but do it in a capital free market approach. But you still have to have some safety net for those who are, who just don’t have the education or…
HH: All right, Tevy? Have you heard those?
TT: I think free market is a really smart phrase to use, because we need market-based elements in order to drive down health care costs. You probably have a smart phone in your pocket, and that smart phone is constantly getting better and cheaper because of competition. Health care doesn’t have that competition, because people are constantly getting third-party payments. They’re not paying directly for their health care. So I agree there needs to be a safety net. There’s going to continue to be a safety net, even if we repealed Obamacare. There is still a safety net, and President Obama said that people want to go back to the old system. I don’t want to go back to the old system. I want to repeal Obamacare, but then put in good, smart, free market reforms that help everybody.
HH: People, you’ve got to go read the Three Failed Promises Of Obamacare: Why It’s In Trouble Even As It Just Begins by Tevy Troy. I have linked it out. It’s at www.commentarymagazine.com. John Podhoretz, the wonderful editor, took it out from behind the paywall, because it is appropriate on today when the President is defending it. Duane is going to type up Tevy’s interview with me so we can push it out and tell everyone about it. And while you’re at it, go to Amazon.com and order What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched And Obama Tweeted: Two Hundred Years Of Popular Culture In The White House, the perfect Christmas present whether it’s a Democrat, Republican or an independent, because there is something in it for everyone. Tevy, thanks for being profligate in your time today on short notice. I appreciate it very much.
TT: Thank you for having me.
End of interview.