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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Mark Steyn On The Obamacare Website Hearings In Congress Today

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HH: I begin with a story, and I begin with Mark Steyn, Columnist To the World. Hello, Mark.

MS: Hey, good to be with you, Hugh.

HH: Now the Daily Caller reports that hundreds of thousands of Americans who purchased their own health plans have receive cancellation notices. It’s a tale of woe. Florida Blue cancelled 300,000 people, Kaiser’s California Permanente cancelled 160,000 people. Blue Shield cancelled 119,000 in Pennsylvania. Between 20% of Blue Cross people and 45% of Insurance Highmark lost their plans. 800,000 New Jersians lost their plans. Have they got any health insurance in New Hampshire left?

MS: Well, actually, yeah, we’re relatively good. I mean, we could go over that list forever, because I think Blue Cross/Blue Shield just cancelled 41% of individual policies in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. And the interesting thing about that is that if you just, and we’ve only named, whatever it is, five or six states just in the list you’ve gone through, and it’s already many times more than all the people who have enrolled or attempted to enroll, or attempted to access the Obamacare website. This is what gets to the heart of the craziness here. The problem, if anyone can remember, the problem five years ago was that America had tens of millions of people who were, who had no form of health coverage. And people said that was a moral stain on the United States compared to other Western countries, so we had to do something about it. And then in order to do something about that, which shouldn’t be that difficult, we’ve kicked all the people who were responsible, who were prudent, who had health insurance, hundreds and hundreds of thousands of them, have now been kicked off their policies, absolutely insane, even if you think that what the Obama crowd were trying to do five years ago were worth a shot.

HH: I mentioned I’m going to speak with Vice President Cheney a little bit later. In his book, Heart, is really a walk through the last thirty years of medical technology, innovation and health care in America. And it’s stunning what we do, what we can do, and what we do for everyone. And we’re destroying that system, Mark Steyn.

MS: Yeah, I mean, well, the book, what I found the most interesting thing about what the Vice President had installed in his chest was they disabled the wi-fi of it, because they thought someone might hack into it.

HH: Yes.

MS: …and start giving him, you know, giving his heart fake attacks from long distance, like Kim Jong Il or someone on the other side of the world.

HH: He had to be in airplane mode the whole time.

MS: Yeah, and you think about it, that is, as you say, the height of medical technology and medical sophistication. And instead, I think all that, I think, by the way, that was seizing up generally on the non-technological front in the United States. If you look at the way we used to cure diseases, and now if you’ve got a new product and it has to go through federal testing, it’s basically entering the valley of death where it will be stalled there for decades. That’s why we have all these stupid awareness-raising ribbons. We spend all our time raising awareness instead of curing diseases like we did in the 50s and the 20s. So I think, I think we’re basically going to be killing a first world medical system on every front, and it’s happening before our eyes 24/7, and I just hope that it’s not a left-right thing.

HH: Oh, it’s not.

MS: Everyone has health care. Everyone needs health care. Everyone gets sick. That’s nothing to do with whether you’re on the left or you’re on the right.

HH: Now he tells a story on how Fudruckers and Macaroni Grill led to stents, because the guy who made all the money met the doctor who wanted to invent stents on a golf course, lent him a quarter million bucks, and a hundred million dollars of profits later, you don’t have to have open heart surgery anymore. You get a stent put in. It’s truly a hymn to American entrepreneurial zeal combined with technological innovation and medical delivery, and we’re killing it, Mark Steyn. It’s a travesty.

MS: Yeah, it is, and I think you’re, I think the next state, I mean, for a start, we’ve taken a third party system, third party systems in any kind of endeavor you care to name are inflationary. That’s the hideousness of the American college debt. Over a trillion dollars in college debt that individual Americans are burdened with right now, because the government stepped into it and made it a third party system. Health care is generally a third party system whether the third party is government or a private insurer. The hideous thing about what Obamacare does is it makes it a fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh party system. It piles on top of the insurer, the employer, the administrative company that the employer uses to choose the insurance, and then adds the government on top of that. So what are we up to there? A six party system?

HH: Right.

MS: That’s going to be more inflationary than anything anywhere on the planet.

HH: Now Henry Waxman would say that you’re being hypercritical. Here’s what Congressman Waxman said earlier today, cut number one.

HW: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. The Affordable Care Act is an enormous success with one obvious exception. It has a poorly-designed website.

HH: And then Congressman Dingell chimed in, cut number two.

JD: This is a wonderful opportunity for us to make the Affordable Care Act work. I remind my colleagues the last perfect law came off the top of Mount Sinai with Moses written on a stone tablet by the hand of God.

HH: And then Frank Pallone, the Democrat of New Jersey, got mad at the Republicans, cut number four.

FP: So once again, here we have my Republican colleagues trying to scare everybody.

FU: Will the gentleman yield?

FP: No, I will not yield to this monkey court, or whatever this thing is.

FU: This is not a monkey court, number one.

HH: This is not a monkey court. This is not a monkey radio show. This is not a monkey columnist here, Mark Steyn.

MS: Yeah, Congressman Dingell, when he was talking about the last perfect law being Moses coming down with the Ten Commandments, I believe that was during Congressman Dingell’s first term in Congress.

HH: (laughing)

MS: So he would have chapter and verse on that.

HH: All right, now my favorite part of the week was the President’s press conference.

BO: It’s really good.

HH: And Duane went and put together one of the all-time great combinations of that was then and this is now. Give a listen, Mark Steyn.

Barack Obama introduces the 1970 Ford Pinto commercial

MS: (laughing)

HH: So Mark Steyn, a little wider stance so you won’t be pushed around by the wind. We think this is the greatest opportunity for humor in many, many decades, but it’s all about, the joke’s on us.

MS: Yeah, and in fairness, and that was a bargain to develop compared to what the President did here when he hired, as we mentioned last week, a Canadian company, God bless them, from Montreal, that already had been fired by the government of Canada, the government of Ontario, the government of New Brunswick. And as far as I can tell, it’s actually failed at every big government it ever attempted north of the border. So naturally the first thing Obama did was sign them up and say forget that nickel and dime Canadian stuff. We’re going to throw a hundred times as much money. We’ll give you a hundred million dollars to screw our website up on a scale no Canadian government, provincial or federal, could ever dream of. And that’s beyond the wildest dreams of the Ford Pinto guys.

HH: I’m going to play, after the break, Mike Rogers, telling your friends from Canada that the security of the system is a nightmare. I think has better data security than I wouldn’t put any information into, Mark, would you?

MS: No, I wouldn’t, actually. And I mean, I find, I think there’s a privacy issue with American health care in general. I think HIPAA is kind of honored in the breach, and it amazes me how insecure medical privacy is in the United States. But what is fascinating about that exchange earlier in Congress is that HIPAA was consciously excluded from this Obamacare website for a very good reason. I mean, basically, this is going to the IRS and who knows who else. And essentially, what it is, is the governmentalization of your most intimate physical details. It’s not an accident that HIPAA was excluded from this.

HH: Yeah, it means that everything that is known about you medically can be sent anywhere in the federal government without the protection of HIPAA.

MS: Right.

HH: And that’s another aspect of Obamacare. Mark Steyn, always a pleasure. Go back in there and make sure your health care hasn’t been cancelled in the ten minutes you’ve been talking to me.

End of interview.


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