Limbaugh is right about health care in Hawaii

For conservative talkmeister Rush Limbaugh, the superior medical care he received at Hawaii’s Queen’s Medical Center served as vindication of his well-known view that the American health care system is just perfect and needs no fixing.

At a news conference following his release last week, Limbaugh declared, “Based on what happened here to me, I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy.”

Based on what happened to him?  Limbaugh’s use of his own circumstances to justify his ongoing tirade against the health care overhaul would be comic if he didn’t have so much influence on the body politic.

Suffice it say that the vast majority of Americans don’t have Limbaugh’s money. His net worth has been variously estimated at anywhere from $685 million to more than $1 billion.

That sort of wealth buys excellent insurance and the cash to cover those pesky out-of-pocket costs that accompany most hospital stays. Limbaugh could pay the exorbitant prices that an insurer might charge for a pre-existing condition — such as health problems that might follow prescription drug abuse — or simply pay his medical bills from cash if he needed to.

(And, despite his insistence that he received “no special treatment,” celebrities usually do. This is no slap at Queen’s Medical Center, but I suspect doctors and nurses there were paying extra attention to Limbaugh, given his stature.)

The health care legislation under consideration by Congress wouldn’t give the rest of us access to the sort of premium care that Limbaugh can afford. But it would help more than 30 million Americans who don’t have insurance afford to purchase it. That means hard-working housepainters, store clerks, warehouse workers and hospital orderlies can finally get the decent medical care they need.

If responses from my readers are any indication, critics hold a lot of misconceptions about the proposals before Congress. Some readers believe that the health care overhaul would reward the stereotypical welfare recipient. Not so.

The poorest Americans are already covered by Medicaid, just as older Americans are covered by Medicare (both of which are much closer to socialized medicine than anything in the bills recently passed by the House and the Senate.) But there are millions of Americans who work hard everyday, earning too much for Medicaid, but not enough to afford health insurance premiums.

And it isn’t just the cost of the premiums. Insurers set up a byzantine system specifically designed to weed out consumers who actually get sick and eat into the profit margins. Most insurers limit their coverage  of patients who already have a treatable illness  —  a “pre-existing condition.”  Some insurance companies resort to obscure rules to find reasons not to pay for a patient’s medical care, instead ending their coverage. They call that “rescission.” Health care reform aims to curb those practices.

Republicans in Congress — the vast majority of whom, listening to Limbaugh, have opposed the health care legislation — are beginning to concede they are unlikely to stop Democrats from passing a historic health care bill; but the GOP hasn’t given up its hopes of blocking reform. Among other tactics, some conservatives are talking up the idea of a legal  challenge to the “mandate” — the requirement that all Americans have health insurance.

Hawaii, though, where Limbaugh received such excellent health care, passed a mandate that employers provide generous health care benefits back in 1974. Perhaps as a result, Hawaii residents have longer life spans than most Americans, according to The New York Times. They also have lower insurance premiums.

So I think I’ve found something on which Limbaugh and I agree: Hawaii offers good health care. Congress should make sure the rest of the country gets something similar.

132 comments Add your comment

Ridgerunner

January 6th, 2010
8:50 am

………….. and so Ms. Tucker we have an imperfect system (still the best in the world) and all we are doing is making it worse. Very sad indeed.

DAVID

January 6th, 2010
8:53 am

RUSH DID NOT GET ANY BETTER CARE THAN AN ORDINARY BEACH BUM WOULD HAVE RECEIVED………………..THE SYSTEM WORKS…….Cynthia……IT DOES NOT NEED REFORMED.

Ridgerunner

January 6th, 2010
8:58 am

P.S. ……….. and what hypocrisy !

Headline: “Where’s the Transparency?”

“Obama and Dem leaders agree to keep health reform negotiations a closed-door affair, bypassing conference committee that would have opened process to scrutiny.”

DAVID

January 6th, 2010
8:58 am

CYNTHIA….If your watch is keeping peerfect time……..you don’t take it to the WATCH maker…..for repair….

Stanford

January 6th, 2010
9:02 am

Wakeup America! Everyone agrees that healthcare needs an overhaul. I am a self-employed small business person paying approximately $800 per month for the most basic of insurance. Last year was the first time ever that my wife and I did not go to the dentist for rountine checkups. Can’t afford it. If anyone desires healthcare reform it is me any my family.

First, the Republicans aren’t listening to Limbaugh, they are listening to their constituents. Second, Washington is totally out of control and does not have the good sense to pass legislation that is in the best interest of the people. Until we get the lobbyists out of Washington and find a way to have term limits, we are going to get the same old crap out of Washington I don’t care who is in office.

Bottom line, we can’t financially afford any healthcare reform right now that doesn’t focus on tort reform and insurance reform. It is like trying to make chicken salad out of chicken crap…there is only so much mayonnaise and pickles to go around.

We are so overspent as a government and as Americans. We have partied heavily over the last few years and now we have a hangover…kind of like the movie “Hangover”. We are fat (literally and figuratively) and we are broke. I cringe everytime I see a printing press running on TV. Printing money and borrowig money from the Chinese is a lazy politician’s way out of a problem. We have to stop it.

They can pass the healthcare bill and we can celebrate it for a little while. It’s kind of like buying a $500,000 house and leasing an S Class Mercedes to put in the drive way a couple of years ago when you can’t afford furniture for the house or maintain the Mercedes. Anybody seen any foreclosed mini-mansions lately and wore-out repoed Mercedes?

William

January 6th, 2010
9:12 am

CT and the other progressive liberal liars:

Are not the democrats behind close doors creatinga a healthcare package suited only to them? The public does not want this bill and the conservatives are not invited to help write this bill. If we are a representative republic and I am a conservative then I am being taxed without representation.
Obama promised transparency and a full show in cspan. Once again progessive liberal liars are revealed. So please keep your tweeked statistics,censuses, and so called scientific facts on the front page! The American people have awoken to the tyranny of the liberals in power. I will do what ever it takes to reveal this treachery to the American people and hope someday I will see them in jail.

The progessive liberal liars own this diabolical plot to enslave the American people to the government. They should promote CT to captain in their army of enslavers.

Turd Ferguson

January 6th, 2010
9:17 am

“Wakeup America! Everyone agrees that healthcare needs an overhaul.”

And yet again you are wrong.

Tyler

January 6th, 2010
9:33 am

I think this is typical Rush logic.

He is in the hospital with chess pains, and the doctors find nothing wrong.

So, EITHER

The health care is incompetent since the doctors cannot locate the source/problem with Rush

OR

Rush is delusional.

Stanford

January 6th, 2010
9:36 am

Dear Turd:

Read more than the first two sentences before you comment.

Healthcare is broken and that is about the only thing that both sides of the aisle can agree on. In 2009, we paid 10X more in premiums than we received in benefits. BCBS of Georgia rewarded us with a 26% increase in our monthly premium beginning this month.

I think the repo man is outside my door hooking up to my ‘Benz!

Mark

January 6th, 2010
9:38 am

Bravo, Cynthia. And it is not only Rush, let’s not forget Bob Barr (”the best health care system in the world,” many Republicans in Congress, as well as some people commenting here.

pat

January 6th, 2010
9:39 am

Again, it would be cheaper to buy insurance for every uninsured person, than either of these bills cost. That is how bad these bills are and how absurd they are. The system needs fixing and it should be, at a fraction of the proposed cost…A fraction. I can do it, why can these nimrods in washington, to whom you appropriate god like traits to, think of a better way…Pre existing condition? Make it illegal to deny on pre existing condition and viola, it’s done. It shouldn’t cost billions to do. Put penalties on price gouging allow foreign drug competition etc. I can come up with a bill to make health care affordable for the mere cost of your average legislative session. These bone heads have no idea what they are doing. Worse are the bone heads who hang on their every word like salivating dogs.

dleemo

January 6th, 2010
9:40 am

Lori,
What you and Cynthia don’t understand is economics. You love the Obama teleprompted speeches that are targeted at the evil health insurers, and you fail to educate yourself enough to know that your health insurance costs are going to increase under this set of socialistic reforms. It’s a shame you probably wake up everyday thinking how so many people have wronged you in your life. Wake up! Is there a need for real health care reforms that cut costs for all Americans not just the shameless, yes.

The Seeker

January 6th, 2010
9:42 am

You think you know me
You don’t know sh..
I’ve seen the world through your eyes
And it makes me sick
I question all of your answers
They’re f….n’ lies
I won’t conform to your system
I’d rather die!

Mark

January 6th, 2010
9:43 am

And then there are people like Sunshine and Thunder, who show their tru colot: “When the price of health care is controlled and lowered artificially so that everyone has access to it it simply means that everyone will have access to artificially lowered quality.”
Let’s translate it: I have health insurance (or can pay out of pocket), and if more people had access to the same health care system, I might have to wait longer. Let them be sick and die!

Kevin

January 6th, 2010
9:43 am

Cynthia, I am a registered Republican. I voted for Bush in 2000 and voted for Kerry in 2004 as a protest against Bush not using his veto pen. To chacterize most Republicans in Congress as listening to Limbaugh is similar to saying most Democrats in Congress listen to Adrianna Huffington of the Huffington Post.

My concern with the health care bills are twofold: (1) Medicare savings to be relaized. There are no specifics that I am am aware of and I am a Controller of a SC rural hospital so our trade associations would have provided specifics if they were present in either bill so how will this be paid for when the estimated revenue stream is unrealistic and (2) very few Americans really have read either bill and even if they have read it possibly only a handful of Congressional staffers understand how provisions of the federal regulations will be affected.

DAVID

January 6th, 2010
9:47 am

DOES anyone wonder why the Atlanta-Obama-Journal has lost 500K readers in the past 5 years…..& laid off 50% of the news staff…..IT IS NO MYSTERY.

DAVID

January 6th, 2010
9:47 am

DOES anyone wonder why the Atlanta-Obama-Journal has lost 500K readers in the past 5 years…..& laid off 50% of the news staff…..IT IS NO MYSTERY.

Larry

January 6th, 2010
9:47 am

I agree, Lush Scumbag is completely out of touch, the idle rich have no idea what most working families do every day just to make ends meet. However, I’m afraid the corrupt republicans and afraid-to-do-anything Democrats have ruined any hope of real health care reform with this bill. Mandates without a public option are worse than what we have now. No real price controls, regulations and lack of any competition will force us to continue subsidizing the corporate insurance monopolies.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
9:49 am

Lori, do not worry about people like dleemo, who accuses you of not understanding, while exhibiting a total ignorance. The moment he/she writes about ” this set of socialistic reforms” you know that hhe/she does not know what is she/he talking about.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
9:58 am

And we also have here people like Vonnie: “… the number is closer to 16 million that are truly “uninsured” and can’t get insurance.” Hallelujah! There are only 16 million Americans who can go bankrupt or die or suffer without treatment. Nothing to worry about!

Huac

January 6th, 2010
10:00 am

This has never been about Healthcare reform. It’s all about power, and the sustainability of one party’s dominance (which if you look at today’s ‘retirements’ seems to be already backfiring on them. Looks like the dems have over-reached again).

There’s one area of healthcare where costs have gone down. Plastic surgery which insurance does not pay for. So what’s that tell you? Competition will solve it all.

Here’s how you fix what parts of healthcare need fixing:

1. Repeal the insurance industry’s anti-trust excemption.
2. Allow insurance companies to compete across state lines.
3. Pass extensive Tort reform.
4. Encourage people to shop their healthcare like they shop for their big-screen TVs.

Trouble is, there’s no huge political land-grab in any of those simple solutions. So we’re told that ‘healthcare is a right’ that only the nanny state can provide. Washington (either party) is the team. Those of us outside the beltway are just the equipment. Hope you’re enjoying being on the team, Ms. Tucker. No doubt you’ll make your move to DC permanent.

JF McNamara

January 6th, 2010
10:01 am

JD wrote:

“Healthcare is an earned privilege, not a right. Nothing in life should be a right, including your own miserable existence. Everything must, should and ought to be earned. PERIOD. Get that through your thick heads, Democraps AND Retardicans.”

You must have been born rich. Its always those who have been given the most who have the “Earn It” mentality. Nearly everyone is given help in life and those who achieve the most generally had a huge head start.

Who has a higher chance of being successful? The son of a Harvard graduate or the son of a high school dropout. What did the Harvard son do to Earn his head start? Your statement is simply ludicrous.

Work hard and you’ll generally do ok. I get that. Earn everything is nonsense.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
10:07 am

One of the splendid ironies of the political debates is that the most vocal right wingers, like Neal Boortz, always remind the listeners that the US is a republic, not a democracy. But they turn around immediately when the polls show something they believe is in their favor, like the disapproval of the health reform bill. What they fail to mention, naturally, is that the polls also have shown that the majority of people want the pubblic option.

Big D

January 6th, 2010
10:11 am

Here we go again the ignorance of the the liberal masses. First you idiots have to understand…THERE IS NO FREE HEALTH CARE!!! It’s right up there with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. Somebody pays…end of discussion. The framers of the constitution knew that if you allowed lazy worthless people to vote for socialist pocket pickers like OBAMA it would kill the Republic ( it is not a Democracy ). For that reason everything with the exception of common defense was the responsibility of the states. This is a states rights issue and CANNOT be run by a distant bureaucracy, the framers had already seen G.B. make this mistake. For those to stupid to understand that here is an example: I put $200.00 in a car in Albany GA. and drive to Atlanta, when I get there I still have some money left ( revenue). I put the same amount in the same car and drive to Washington, I run out of money ( deficit ). There are people who need help, but there is no way the Federal government can be there savior. This is a case where the leach sucks the host dry and they both die. We are there…we are broke as a country…this IS unsustainable and it will come to a time where all will be lost. Try to run a company the way you are letting Pelosi, Reid and Obama run this country and see what happens to you…you will go to jail for writing worthless checks. As for all you jealous characters lamenting Rush’s success…GET a life…figure it out…don’t waste your energy wishing bad on him and focus your negativity into positive plans for your success.

Big D

January 6th, 2010
10:21 am

Mark, I have no idea where you have come up with the idea that the majority want public option…even a CNN poll found that the majority did not want it or this so called health plan. You really need to get a reality check on peoples opinion of this socialist experiment we are about to embark on.

sam

January 6th, 2010
10:27 am

part of the confusion stems from people not being able to separate their own experience from someone elses. i am very lucky to be in a position to have great health insurance, we pay a lot for it but are pretty happy with the plan and the care we get. that doesnt mean that there are not others who could benefit from some changes..its not so much the health care thats bad its the rising costs that are the problem. the health care in america is great, if you can afford it. problem is with the costs going up and up, and income going down and down, there is a large number of ‘working’ people who cant afford it..the costs in the end will at the very least even out and according the CBO we’ll come out ahead..and in the meantime, people will get the care they need.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
10:29 am

Some of the most stupid comments are from people who want to remind us that there is NO FREE HEALTH CARE. In their belief of their superiority they think that people who use that term do not understand that somebody has to pay for the care. I suppose they also protest against expressions like “buy one get one free,” coupons for “one free item of brand X,” etc. Nothing like that is really free, but people understand that the cost is shared, which is the same concept as in “free health care.”

sam

January 6th, 2010
10:29 am

you cant trust these polls either way because of all the disinformation thats out there. most people are forming their opinions on falsehoods from lobbyists and ‘think tanks’..

Borderbud

January 6th, 2010
10:31 am

Wow! You libs are champing at the bit to be paying taxes from January to August to support losing socialist ideas, just like Canada! Welcome to the Socialist Health Care Stupidity Club of the World. Why not pass tort reform first – open borders for purchasing health care across state lines – kick out the illegals abusing your system – kick out the politicians trying for this massive cradle-to-the-grave power grab attempt for starters – stop the massive government regulations on drug testing. Costs will drop considerably. Fight for your freedom, for the love of God! Don’t sink into the mire of socialized medicine like Canada and Great Britain. Maybe what you need to do is come to Canada and seek medical assistance — see what that gets you! Then go home and fight to keep your present system but with legitimate reform. It’s no accident there are so many lawyers in Congress – and so many lawyers fighting tort reform in health care….

Jess

January 6th, 2010
10:32 am

Two points. Cynthia alludes to the fact that Rush probably has good insurance. I don’t know his status, but with his wealth, he does not need insurance, just like millions more who are counted among all those poor souls without insurance.

Number two. It is interesting that the number of uninsured has dropped by 15 million since the health care discussions started. A year ago there were 45 million. Cynthia now refers to the 30 million without health care. Sounds like we can drag our feet for two more years and the problem is solved.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
10:33 am

Big D: Check YOUR facts. Polls have shown people being in favor of public option by 2:1. As for your” socialist experiment,” that expression clearly shows you do not know what “socialist” means.

Grumpy

January 6th, 2010
10:43 am

The Seeker bringing out the Five Finger Death Punch lyrics. Sweet!

Swami Dave

January 6th, 2010
10:44 am

So, Cynthia supports increasing costs / decreasing quality for those who currently have care (aka: legislative mandates that serves to diminish care for those who pay for it) OR confiscating more of the earnings of taxpayers to fund benefits that the beneficiaries will not provide for themselves (aka: legislative theft). So, Cynthia continues to perpetuate the collectivist mantra that based on “need” (actually: a “want” that the beneficiaries will not provide for themselves, but look to government to confiscate and deliver to them at cost to others) legislative theft and the basic concept of slavery that it defines is in any fashion a moral perspective.

Kind of goes back to the reality that Liberal do with legislation what Muggers do with guns!

-SD

sam

January 6th, 2010
10:46 am

tort reform should be included in some fashion but it not a solution to the bigger problem. its a minor issue in the grand scheme of things..kind of ironic that ‘tort reform’ that applies to this issue is basically a doctors call for lower insurance costs.

Big D

January 6th, 2010
10:48 am

Mark and Sam, Let me see if I can come with an analogy your simple minds will comprehend. Think of the Constitution as a set of directions for a very complicated piece of machinery, where if you get a step of of order or forget one you will have to take it apart and start over. Then you have the guy who says I don’t need no stupid directions and is always wasting time taking it back apart and starting over. Please take some time to READ THE DIRECTIONS, because there is no step for all the stupid things you want and we that do know will be left to take it back apart and fix it.

jconservative

January 6th, 2010
10:56 am

To correct a couple thoughts running through the comments.

Medicare/Medicaid recipients receive the same care as someone on a “Cadillac” insurance plan. At least in my case this is correct.

Not only does Hawaii have a government mandated employer plan, the health care system there is the most unionized system in the country.
Good or bad? You decide. Rush does not like unions but probably did not know this.

If you combine all federal government health care systems – medicare/medicaid.chip(98 million), veterans hospitals(7 million enrolled), military (TRICARE, 3 million+) and federal employees (1,572,855 + retirees)) – then the US is one of the largest socialized medicine countries on the planet. Scary!

sam

January 6th, 2010
10:56 am

interesting, so we should all live today exactly as the constitution laid it out 230 yrs ago? i also find it interesting that someone who writes like you do calls other people simple minded.

Big D

January 6th, 2010
10:57 am

Mark, Socialism> A social system in which the means of producing and distributing goods and services are owned collectively by by the whole community ( in this case the Federal Government ). Socialize> To place under public ownership or control. What are you not getting here.

sam

January 6th, 2010
10:58 am

“Medicare/Medicaid recipients receive the same care as someone on a “Cadillac” insurance plan. At least in my case this is correct.”

false, false, false…

Big D

January 6th, 2010
11:00 am

Sam, do you really think YOU are smarter or more experienced than the founding fathers were? Do you think you or any other liberal can honestly can come with a plan that would last 230 years? PLEASE.

Call it Like It Is

January 6th, 2010
11:02 am

Hey Chris Broe,

You are a Moron!

Linda

January 6th, 2010
11:02 am

What’s the point of having more Americans eligible for Medicare if they are unable to use it?
The Mayo Clinic in Arizona announced last week that they will no longer serve Medicare patients. This applies to both new & existing patients. 3000 existing Medicare patients will need to pay cash or locate new doctors.
The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota has stopped accepting Medicare patients from outside Minnesota & its 4 bordering states.
The Mayo Clinic in Florida stopped accepting Medicare Advantage 2 years ago & become a nonparticipating Medicare provider in ‘03 which means Medicare patients are charged higher rates than what this government program normally allows for treatment. This facility bars new Medicare patients from receiving primary care.
Medicare reimburses providers at only about 80% of what private insurers pay & the Senate health care reform bill will cut another $500 B out of Medicare over the next 10 yrs.
Last year the Mayo Clinics lost $840 M treating Medicare patients. At the Glendale clinic Medicare reimbursement covered only 50% of the cost of treating elderly primary-care patients. The leanest, most efficient medical organization can not continue to do business with a program that compels it to eat half of its costs. The reform bill will worsen the physician & hospital shortage for Medicare patients as more doctors stop accepting Medicare patients.

Linda

January 6th, 2010
11:07 am

In ‘08, the Medicare Payment Advisory Com. reported that 29% of Medicare patients have trouble finding a primary care doctor. The Texas Medical Ass. survey indicated that only 38% of the state’s primary care doctors were accepting new Medicare patients.

dleemo

January 6th, 2010
11:07 am

Mark,
Why don’t you just stand up and be a man and thank Mr. Limbaugh for his success and for the healthcare he will soon be providing you.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
11:08 am

Anybody who claims that health care is a privilege and not a need is brain dead.

sam

January 6th, 2010
11:16 am

dont put words in my mouth d, i asked you a simple question and you havent answered it.

Big D

January 6th, 2010
11:19 am

Mark, Why should I have to pay for your medical care? Should I now be responsible to feed you, buy you cloths….maybe pay for your baby sitter… how bout I get you six pack while I’m getting these other things for you. Where does it stop once this genie is out of the bottle.

sam

January 6th, 2010
11:21 am

point is the consitution as first written was not a perfect document, it was a framework open to review and changes as the times changed ( i.e. slavery, womens rights, due process, etc, etc)…of course since i am ’simple minded’ i may misunderstand the whole thing. since your thoughts are stuck in the 1700’s if its easier for you live by the original document, be my guest. .

Big D

January 6th, 2010
11:28 am

Sam, I’m not trying to put anything in your mouth, I’m trying to show you that you need to think. Yes, I think the Constitution is every bit as relevant today as it was 230 years ago… the only thing that has gone wrong with it is when we think we can improve on it, institute a stupid amendment that we think applies to the order of the day ( prohibition, thanks for the Mafia and the Kennedy’s ). I will be willing to place a bet that you have never read the Constitution or the Federalist papers. As for my writing capabilities, I can at least relate a cognizant thought, use capitals and stay on issue.

Jess

January 6th, 2010
11:29 am

Even if we use Cynthia’s number of 30 million uninsured, this is still just 10% of the population. If this entire debate had been about finding a solution for this 10% we would have a bill by now. This congress and president instead propose to reform the entire health care industry to fix the 10% problem. The fact that up to 70% of americans were satisified with their health care arrangements, should have been a clue that their over the top proposals would meet with resistance.