Arrghhh!!! You. Must. Give. Sound Bite. To. Gardzilla!

We talked earlier about the disastrous anti-Obamacare hearing that Republicans held today in an Energy and Commerce subcommittee (of which Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner is a member). Republicans tried grilling insurance executives over Obamacare in order to pull out some juicy sound bites…but they had a difficult time getting answers to questions that, quite frankly, the executives could not answer ("we would not have that information," answered one executive).

You can see the video of Gardner's 5-minute inquisition after the jump. We've also found the transcript of Gardner's Q&A, via Federal News Service, which you can read below. Even in the transcript, you can see Gardner growing more and more frustrated until he finally just starts interrupting the executives in order to ram home his talking point about Obamacare.

Arrghhh!!! Gardzilla must have sound bites!!!


Gardzilla, Cory

Gardzilla will have his political points. Now!

Attending today's grilling hearing:

Frank Coyne
Vice President of Operations/ Chief Transformation Officer
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association

Mark Pratt
Senior Vice President of State Affairs
America’s Health Insurance Plans

Paul Wingle
Executive Director of Individual Business and Public Exchange Operations and Strategy

Brian Evanko
President, Individual Segment

J. Darren Rodgers
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer
Health Care Service Corporation

Dennis Matheis
President of Central Region and Exchange Strategy
Wellpoint, Inc.


Now we'll recognize Mr. Gardner for five minutes.

REPRESENTATIVE CORY GARDNER (R-CO): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to the witnesses for being here today and your time. Last year the president apologized for his broken promise — if you like your plan, you can keep your plan — after millions of Americans received plan cancellations. I'd like each insurer to reply in turn how many plans did you cancel or discontinue last year because of "Obamacare".

MR. COYNE: We don't have that information at the association. Individual health plans have that information.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Wingle.

MR. WINGLE: We can provide that information to the committee.

REP. GARDNER: Could you submit that for the record and by state with the total for all of you?

MR. EVANKO: Sure, yes.

REP. GARDNER: Do you have the number of the top of your head right now?

MR. EVANKO: I can give you approximations that I've heard.

REP. GARDNER: Sure. That'd be great.

MR. EVANKO: We had approximately 2,000 customers, individual customers, in South Carolina and Connecticut.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Wingle.

MR. WINGLE: Again, we want to get you the firm data.

REP. GARDNER: OK. Mr. Rodgers.

MR. RODGERS: I don't have that data with me. I think we've provided it to other congressional committees, so we'd certainly be happy —

REP. GARDNER: But that's not a number that you keep on the top of your head?

MR. RODGERS: Not at all.

REP. GARDNER: OK. Mr. Matheis.

MR. MATHEIS: I don't have the number of products off the top of my head, but we'd be happy to provide that —

REP. GARDNER: Yeah, if you could submit for the record by state and with the total, I'd appreciate it. Then to AHIP, does your organization know how many plan cancellations there were nationwide last year or for your members?

MR. PRATT: Congressman, we would not have that information.

REP. GARDNER: Your — you don't ask that of your members? They don't provide that to you?

MR. PRATT: To my knowledge, we did not, no.

REP. GARDNER: OK. Mr. Coyne, does your organization know how many member plans were canceled? You don't?

MR. COYNE: We haven't asked for that information either.

REP. GARDNER: In order to avoid these cancellations, some insurers offered early renewal plans so that they could continue into 2014. If each of the insurers could reply in turn how many plans did you offer early renewals to last year that would have been otherwise canceled?

MR. MATHEIS: We offered early renewals to all of our customers in all 14 states. That was allowable. So California did not allow us to offer early renewal, but in the majority of every other market, we offered it to every customer.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Rodgers.

MR. RODGERS: We offered early renewals in four of our five states. The Montana plan became part of our larger —

REP. GARDNER: And how many — how many were those offers — how many offers were there?

MR. RODGERS: I don't have the number with me, but they're significant numbers, yes.

REP. GARDNER: And could you provide — all of you provide those for the record and by state, breaking it down, please?

Mr. Evanko. MR. EVANKO: Yes, we offered early renewal to about 235,000 customers in all states except for Connecticut and South Carolina, as I had testified earlier.

REP. GARDNER: OK. And Mr. Wingle.

MR. WINGLE: We offered early renewals as consistent with state laws and regulations.

REP. GARDNER: OK. Last year president apologized — President Obama apologized for these canceled plans and offered a one-year delay of enforcing the "Obamacare" requirements that led to the cancelations. This delay has since been extended. I'd like each insurer to answer, how many plans do you currently offer that do not meet the law's requirements but you are able to continue offering because of this delay?

MR. MATHEIS: I would have to get you that number, sir. I don't know it off the top of my head.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Rodgers.

MR. RODGERS: Yeah, I don't know the number.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Evanko.

MR. EVANKO: I don't know the exact figure either.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Wingle.

MR. WINGLE: I don't have the hard numbers on the pre-ACA plans.

REP. GARDNER: To AHIP, do you know how many plans your member organizations correctly offer under this delay?

MR. PRATT: Could you please repeat that question?

REP. GARDNER: The question is, the one-year delay of enforcing "Obamacare" requirements that led to the cancellation — this delay has been extended — how many plans do you currently offer that do not meet the law's requirements but you're able to continue offering because of this delay?

MR. PRATT: We don't have that information.

REP. GARDNER: (Inaudible) — that number?

MR. COYNE: The only information we have has been informally reported to us, and it contains all non-ACA-compliant plans across the Blue system, and that number is 3.2 million.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Matheis, what happens when those plans — when the time runs out, when the delay expires?

MR. MATHEIS: So, depending on how the state handles it, with the extension, in theory a customer could sign up for two more years —

REP. GARDNER: What happens after that time expires?

MR. MATHEIS: Then they would be moved to an ACA product.

REP. GARDNER: So that plan would be canceled?

MR. MATHEIS: Yes, sir.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Rodgers, would that plan be canceled at the end of the time period?

MR. RODGERS: Mr. Matheis' characterization was correct, I believe.

REP. GARDNER: So, yes, that's a cancellation after the time expires. Mr. Evanko, would those plans be canceled after the time expired?

MR. EVANKO: Based on the current guidance, yes.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Wingle, would those plans be canceled after the time expires?

MR. WINGLE: Where feasible, we would offer the member an ACA-compliant alternative.

REP. GARDNER: Could you submit the total numbers for all of those plans that would be canceled when the time expires, break it down by state, please? Thank you. And one of the excuses that we've heard from the supporters of the health care bill is that the law didn't do this, didn't cause the cancellations, that you were the ones who planned the cancellations and planned all the cancellations. Were the massive cancellation notices sent last year the ones the president apologized for — were these because of "Obamacare" or because of you?

Mr. Matheis. MR. MATHEIS: The law required us to send out those cancellations.

REP. GARDNER: So "Obamacare" required the cancellations.

MR. RODGERS: The law required us to in certain situations —

REP. GARDNER: So "Obamacare" caused and required the cancellations.

MR. EVANKO: We had such a fraction of our book of business — that was not offered, early renewals, but that was —

REP. GARDNER: But "Obamacare" required the 2,000 cancellations that you said?

MR. EVANKO: In the two states where we did not offer early renewals.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Wingle, did "Obamacare" cause the cancellations?

MR. WINGLE: Plans that weren't compliant with the benefit requirements of the law were canceled.

REP. GARDNER: So that's a yes?

MR. WINGLE: That is a yes.

REP. GARDNER: In attempting to pass this law, the president said repeatedly, if you like your plan, you can keep it. Did that turn out to be true for all of your customers?

Mr. — MR. : No, that was not true for a hundred percent of our customers.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Rodgers.

MR. RODGERS: Not for 100 percent.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Evanko.

MR. EVANKO: For over 99 percent of our customers, that was the case.

REP. GARDNER: Mr. Wingle.

MR. WINGLE: Not in all cases, no.

REP. GARDNER: OK. I appreciate your time, and I yield back.



4 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    He'll just lie about it, anyway. It's a money-miner.

    In his next fundraising email, his people will represent today's hearing as "Congressman Gardner bravely confronted insurance executives and exposed Obamacare lies!!! Congressman Cory Gardner did not back down!!!

    Send $50, $100, ……2500 right away!"

    He assumes that all of his base never ventures out of a Fox News bubble.

  2. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    I'm betting Evanko's response that over 99% got to keep the plan they already had (with the rest going no farther than saying it wasn't a full 100%) wasn't what Gardner was looking for. Did a full 100% of customers of any of these companies ever get to keep the plans they liked with no changes or at all? I'm also betting that would be a "no".

    Admittedly it was a stupid promise for Obama to make because he was promising something on behalf of private insurers that has never been the case but it doesn't sound like any more people lost plans they liked than would have without ACA.  How many people every year prior to ACA didn't get to keep plans they liked because they reached a cap or the company just decided to drop them?  More than under 1%? It also doesn't sound like these insurance company guys were terribly interested in trashing the program. 

    • bullshit!bullshit! says:

      Gardner's desperate questioning of these executives betrays how screwed they are now that Obamacare is working.

      • horseshit GOP front grouphorseshit GOP front group says:

        " Mr Evanko, would you say Obamacare is a giant piece of shit or a medium sized piece of shit ? "

        " I don't have that information"

        " Mr. Pratt, would you say millions of people have died on the streets because of Obamacare, or billions of people ? "

        " That is not infomation we are privy to"

        Nobody will throw poor Cory a bone.  Its like this guy lives in a bubble.  He's still stuck on the whole bullshit cancellations thing.  Come up for air Cory !

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