HH: I always like to play the Mike Dukakis theme song before my new lefty guest appears. Pete Dominick is a Sirius radio talk show host, very successful young comedian, and he was on Washington Post television earlier today. Pete, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
PD: You just had David Mamet, and now you have Pete Dominick. You’re slumming it now, Hugh. What a real buzzkill.
HH: No, I’m telling you, I’m building. I’m building, and so you ought to be very happy. Now we have a little hazing that we do of our first-time lefty guests. Are you ready for the little hazing?
PD: Hold on, let me put my pants back on. Let’s do this.
HH: All right, is Alger Hiss a communist?
PD: I’m sorry?
HH: Is Alger Hiss a communist?
PD: Is Aldra Hiss a communist?
HH: Yeah. Was he a communist?
PD: Was Aldra Hiss a communist?
HH: No, Alger Hiss a communist?
PD: I don’t know who Alger Hiss is.
HH: Okay, that is exactly what Karen Finney should have said, and she’d have been a lot better. And she got mad at me, but she didn’t have a clue. So you don’t know who Alger Hiss is?
PD: Well, I do now. He was an American laywer, government official, author and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the U.N. both at the State Department and U.N. officially, accused of being a Soviet Spy in 1948, convicted of perjury in connection with this charge in 1950.
HH: Yeah, but he was actually a communist spy and you didn’t know that.
PD: No, I didn’t know that, but I’m 38, so I don’t know as much as I should about history, I’m embarrassed to say.
HH: Have you read, this is question number two, have you read Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower?
PD: I have.
HH: Oh, terrific. You’ve got one out of two. You could actually win the prize. Did you like the book?
PD: I love Lawrence Wright, and Lawrence Wright was the first person to document my good friend, Special Agent Ali Soufan’s story, the hero FBI agent who cracked the U.S.S. Cole investigation. I’ve met Larry Wright. I think he’s fantastic.
HH: All right, so you’re one out of two. You might get the invite back next hour. Now the third and most important question, and this is the one on which people often fail. Define for me adverse selection.
PD: Adverse selection is how the health insurance decides who is going to get health insurance and what they’re going to be paying. It’s basically a term used in health economics to determine the process for which people get coverage for health insurance? How’d I do?
HH: It’s wildly wrong.
PD: Wildly wrong? What did I get wrong?
HH: That it’s got like almost no connection whatsoever to what adverse selection is, which is the process by which some insurance plans go belly up because the very sick select that plan to the exclusion of those who are marginally well and capable of sustaining it.
PD: And see, it can also often be referred to as the downward spiral, can it not?
HH: No, no actually, the downward spiral is what happens after adverse selection attacks a plan over a period of time.
PD: I am a comedian, but I do invite health care economists on my program, health policy experts every week, because I am not an expert, but I, my program is about me asking questions to experts on issues.
HH: All right, so, but earlier today on Washington Post television, the reason you caught my eye is that the host whose name I simply do not know.
PD: Nia Malika…
HH: Yeah, Nia Malika said this was like Katrina, and you got puffy a little bit, and you said I’m pushing back against that…
HH: …which I don’t know what that means. What does it mean to push back on Washington Post TV? Do the eight people that are watching turn off?
PD: I’m just excited that you, I literally said I wonder who’s watching us right now? But the fact that Hugh Hewitt is watching, and that’s how I got on this show, talk about adverse selection.
HH: Well, I know, but you pushed back. And why did you push back? What is it that offends you about the host making the quite obvious connection between a precipitous drop in the fifth year of Bush’s administration and that of President Obama’s administration in their polling approval?
PD: Oh, well, if that’s what we’re talking about, the similarity in polling approval, but I would base, first of all, I wasn’t offended. I simply disagreed with the comparisons on…
HH: No, you pushed back.
PD: I did push back, Hugh. I fought back. I challenged the host on that point, because I, we’ve been hearing a lot of comparisons between Katrina, Hurricane Katrina, which of course is a horrific natural disaster where a lot of people died, and the Obamacare rollout. And that’s, of course, as I said on Washington Post TV for just my parents watching, apparently, that is an effort to save lives.
HH: But wouldn’t you agree, and perhaps you won’t, that the ineptitude displayed by President Bush’s administration, or the perceived ineptitude which was in fact Kathleen Blanco ineptitude and Mayor Nagin ineptitude combined with President Bush ineptitude is similar to the ineptitude of President Obama in the rollout of Obamacare such that both are seeing their public opinion standing just consumed in revulsion among the public at large?
PD: Well, what I don’t like is the idea that people get really, really upset about the effort to cover millions and millions of Americans with health insurance, the idea that somehow, you know, people that get cancer aren’t going to go bankrupt. The idea that people are outraged by that, no matter what the method, the solution is, Hugh, is bewildering to me compared to…
HH: But Pete, if it doesn’t work, doesn’t it make sense to be outraged that if in fact, people in California, a million cancellations have gone out, and 80,000 people have signed up. Is that efficient in your world?
PD: Well, of course, we could talk about why, everybody gets their health insurance cancelled every year, regardless of the Affordable Care Act. You know that, Hugh.
HH: That’s simply not true. Come back next hour…
PD: You know that. The idea that anybody would defend the private insurance industry as they’re the white night…
HH: I’ll tell you, you go study up on Alger Hiss and then come back in one hour, Pete Dominick. One hour for your return visit to the Hugh Hewitt show.
End of interview.