From BHO’s remarks on the signing of the Healthcare Reconciliation Bill, which included changes in the law applicable to student loans:
Now, I’ve said before and I’ve repeated this week the health insurance reform bill I signed won’t fix every problem in our health care system in one fell swoop. But it does represent some of the toughest insurance reforms in history.
Now, the debate on health care reform is one that’s gone on for generations, and I’m glad -- I’m gratified that we were able to get it done last week. But what’s gotten overlooked amid all the hoopla, all the drama of last week, is what happened in education -- when a great battle pitting the interests of the banks and financial institutions against the interests of students finally came to an end.
You see, for almost two decades, we’ve been trying to fix a sweetheart deal in federal law that essentially gave billions of dollars to banks to act as unnecessary middlemen in administering student loans. So those are billions of dollars that could have been spent helping more of our students attend and complete college; that could have been spent advancing the dreams of our children; that could have been spent easing the burden of tuition on middle-class families. Instead, that money was spent padding student lenders’ profits.
Now, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the big banks and financial institutions hired a [sic, at Whitehouse.gov] army of lobbyists to protect the status quo. In fact, Sallie Mae, America’s biggest student lender, spent more than $3 million on lobbying last year alone.
But I didn’t stand with the banks and the financial industries in this fight. That’s not why I came to Washington. And neither did any of the members of Congress who are here today. We stood with you. We stood with America’s students. And together, we finally won that battle.
And this is the President of all the people? All the people except those who oppose anything he wants to take from them. He doesn’t “stand with” the special interests, unless, of course, they’re unions or trial lawyers. No, those bastards in the insurance and financial services biz aren’t like you and me: they’re “unnecessary middlemen,” with sweetheart deals. This Obama is a very zero-sum guy: there’s no getting without taking. It’s a good thing there are so many evil people out there for him to scapegoat, er, I mean win battles with.
The new healthcare bill does not include the “toughest insurance reforms” in the past week, much less in history. It mandates coverage so that insurance companies - who would like nothing better! – can now afford to cover pre-existing conditions, because there won’t be any pre-existing conditions. BHO calls it “reform” so that he can pretend that he is throwing the insurance companies under the bus, when in fact he is throwing them more claims to handle.
The political case against insurers is built on the silly idea that insurance companies bet against their customers. But they don’t. The insurance company processes claims and marks up the transaction. Insurers have an interest in denying claims only because that keeps premiums down so that customers stay so that more claims can be processed. Now, they will have more claims. Tough on them.
The student loan thing does hurt the private lenders. Of course, only the “big” banks and financial institutions sent the armies of lobbyists. The little ones are ok folks, I guess, even though this law removes them from the student loan process, too. Collateral damage – you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, right?
I have no idea whether the single-lender approach will be workable. Maybe it will. Certainly, removing the private companies from the process makes it unnecessary to demand repayment, and that’s gotta be nice for the politicians who get to bestow that bit of largesse on future supporters. But, nah, that can’t be what’s going on here. This is about sweetheart deals and, ugh, middlemen. Yeah, right.