Rand Paul appeared on Morning Joe today, and Paul (who frequently plays the part of The Principled Conservative in these staged plays) spouted so many lies, I thought of something my Irish mother used to say: "He's so full of crap, his eyes are brown."
Paul told Scarborough he wants the bill "to look more like a repeal bill. I didn't promise people I was going to replace it with a federal program or bailing out insurance companies."
Right away, my ears prick up. Because this is a reconciliation bill, and that means you can't repeal Obamacare -- you can only chip away at it, which is exactly what they're doing. Rand Paul already knows that, so why is he pretending otherwise?
"The fundamental flaw of Obamacare was, we said to people, you can buy insurance after you are sick. And we also added regulations to insurance that increased the price of insurance such that healthy people didn't want to buy it because it was too expensive. those fundamental flaws still remain," he said.
Um, Rand, what do you suppose the individual mandate is for? Or the subsidies?
"The Republican proposal is, okay, can you still buy insurance after you are sick, which led to the death spiral (Editor's note: the one that experts say does not exist), led to the elevated premiums. But we're being told to subsidize premiums by dumping a bunch of money into the insurance companies."
Well, yes, Rand. The only way that wouldn't happen is to have single-payer, and somehow, I don't think you'd like that.
"My problem is, insurance companies already make $15 billion a year, I don't think the taxpayers should give them any money, so I really am opposed to the idea of giving insurance companies money and saying, will you lower your prices? I mean, we can do this for cars, new cars are expensive. we can have a new car stabilization fund," he said.
(That's the trademark Rand Paul con, right there. I'm a Principled Libertarian, I don't believe we should give them more money. That's the schtick that keeps those gullible small donors sending him money without him ever actually changing anything.)
Scarborough then asked at what point do Republicans or conservatives "of all parties" actually put together a bill "that moves the health care system towards free markets."
"Because right now, the health care is extraordinarily expensive. We spend more money per patient in America on health care than any country on the planet. We don't get the results and, in large part, we don't get the results because the free market is kept outside the door of every hospital, of every doctor's office, of every testing facility," Scarborough said.
Ooo, Joe came so close to actually telling the truth. Because if you really wanted to lower medical expenditures, you'd forcibly remove the stranglehold doctors have on the industry.
Doctors make a lot more money in the United States than they do anywhere else, and it's not just because they have student loans to pay off. No, it's because the physician's lobby actually restricts the number of people who attend medical school, and then opposes any move to delegate medical functions to paraprofessionals. It's a monopoly problem!
But that isn't what Dr. Rand Paul sees as the problem. Nope.
"You're exactly right," he said.
"I can summarize the healthcare cost drama in one sentence if we don't address it. The one sentence is, 'The reason capitalism doesn't work in health care is, the consumer is disconnected from the product.'
"Consumers do not make decisions based on price in healthcare except for a few exceptions. Lasik surgery, when you want to get surgery to get rid of glasses. Everybody asks a price. The average consumer calls four different doctors. It's a sophisticated million-dollar laser. Yet the price was gone down by three-quarters over 15 year," he said.
"Contact lenses, same way.
"The consumer shops, competition works."
Yes, because when you call 911 in the middle of the night, and the ambulance takes you to the closest hospital (not the best, or the cheapest), you're going to bargain with the emergency room doctors. Who, by the way, almost never know what anything costs.
Rand, this is where I think of my mom, and why your eyes are starting to look brown. Because now the crap piles up even higher!
Mike Barnicle then reads a letter from the New York Times today "written by a Martin Plaque from New York City.
"It reads, 'I would propose passing the health care bill without amendment on the conditions all members of the House and Senate be required to have health insurance as laid out by this plan and only by this plan for themselves, their wives, or husbands and their children.
"'This would also apply to the president, the vice president, and their families as well as all members of the cabinet and all federal employees.
" 'My question to you, sir, would you and your family sign up for the bill as proposed right now?' "
Now, here is some Tony-worthy choreography. Just watch Rand dance!
"Well, we currently have Obamacare. We're mandated by law. I'm not sure of the specifics of what will happen. my guess is this will be binding on us as well," he said.
DING DING DING DING DING!
No. It isn't.
If Obamacare is trashed, Rand Paul and friends go right back onto the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP). Where they get a 72% subsidy from the federal government!
And then there's the Office of the Attending Physician.
I've written about it before. Members of Congress have a state-of-the-art onsite clinic where they're offered comprehensive concierge care, all for the amazing price of $503 a year. (Which most of them don't pay, but they're still not denied care.)
Rand Paul insists he wants to be "allowed" to choose inexpensive insurance. You know,
a piece of meaningless paper that doesn't actually cover anything.
Because what the hell, he'll never have to worry about paying for health care. If he gets voted out or retires, he can go right back into the federal health insurance.
Isn't that nice.