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

Mark

January 6th, 2010
11:37 am

jconservative: “US is one of the largest socialized medicine countries on the planet. Scary.”
Haven’t you noticed that US is one of the largest countries on the planet?

sam

January 6th, 2010
11:38 am

i’ve actually read both more than once, high school and college

“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”

that would qualify as putting words in mouth….i’m bored with you. have a nice day.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
11:40 am

dleemo: Where di you get the brillaint idea that Rush will be providing healthcare to ME?

Big D

January 6th, 2010
11:46 am

Sam, you may be right, the Koran is older than the Constitution and has NO amendments and the Muslims may want to hear from you on how to improve it. HAHA…Out of here..got to go make some evil money.

Big D

January 6th, 2010
11:48 am

SAM, only simple minds get bored.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
11:49 am

Big D: Who is asking you to pay for MY health care? Why don’t you go to some wildermess and live from the land, if you do not want to live in a civilized society. I do not have children, but pay for schools. I have no quarrel wit the Iraquis, but I am paying for the war there. I do not drive in Norh Dakota, but pay for the highways there. There are thousand for things we pay for that we do not directly need, because we need a healthy society to function, and that it includes the literal health of people..

don

January 6th, 2010
12:00 pm

All you people are idiots,just take a listen?A bunch of tools.

Americans are sad and pathetic, no kind of unity what so ever.Your constitution is the greatest single document ever written .

The interesting thing is both sides of your politics cling to the constitution and wrap themselves in it under the guise of patriotism.Much in the same way you do your flag.

I am in my mid forties and live in a very small country.I was raised with the belief that America stood for Justice,Freedom,Equality,Compassion.I thought America was the greatest country in the world.

Then I read this and find that America is full of pettiness,delusion,self righteousness,gluttony…..

America is bloated

I still believe in the idea of your great country,but I think in your country that idea is dead

Jess

January 6th, 2010
12:25 pm

don,

I wish more people felt the way you do. This country is full to the brim of people from other countries.

Mark

January 6th, 2010
12:26 pm

don: You may be right in many things you have written, but the implicit idea that unity is paramount is wrong. I society with a high degree of unity is probably dead. Progress is the result of a clash of ideas. Also, while the Constitution is a great document, it is not a perfect document. If it were, why would it have to me amended so many times? Why would it be open to interpretations?

Mark

January 6th, 2010
12:27 pm

Jess: I guess we should send all the people other than American Indians home where they belong.

Jimmy62

January 6th, 2010
12:29 pm

Maybe it’s because we favor reform that will lower costs and make premiums affordable, not reform that wastes trillions of taxpayers dollars and puts medical decisions in political hands. But since you ignore all of our reform suggestions and just call us the party of NO, it’s obvious you are the one wearing blinders and refusing to hear anything outside of your little Obama-box.

In 10 years when your system has destroyed our country, will you apologize? Nope, you’ll just find a way to blame it on Bush.

johnny boy

January 6th, 2010
12:48 pm

Cynthia, there is nothing wrong with the health care system! The problem is the cost of medical insurance and I can promise you that gov’t run health care will be a complete disater. Why are 30 million americans uninsured? Most buisness offer health benefits for employees.

I would like to know what percentage of 30 million that don’t have health care have either quit their jobs, have gotten fired, have failed drug tests, failed background checks, and are just purely too lazy to find work.

You want to know what I pay for health insurance? $0.00!!!!! My employer pays for single plans. If gov’t run healthcare passes my insurance will no longer be free because my taxes will increase. All because of a few irresponsible americans who don’t want to be responsible and have to play the victim card!

Of course people live longer in Hawaii, there isn’t much stress laying out in the sun and surfing the waves!

Mickey

January 6th, 2010
1:41 pm

If you think American health care is the best in the world then devote some of your time at the next Remote Area Medical (RAM) health fair. I was in Wise VA this past summer and had a chance to see them in action. For three days hundreds of people stood in line in the rain to see a doctor or dentist. The fair was at the county fairgrounds where they cleaned out the pig stalls for room to see people. This type of medical care can be found all around America. Why does a 19 year old woman have to die of cervical cancer in America in the 21st century because the only reason is that she is poor?

Limbaugh is Nauseating! He can buy all the medical care he wants. How many of you have the resources of Steve Jobs to get a new liver? It would be Karma if you would lose your job and then your insurance because the COBRA payments are more than your unemployment check. And then you try to find private insurance and can’t because like every human on this planet you have a pre-existing condition. And then a trip to the emergency room puts you in bankrupt court. But, you have the best health care in the world so don’t worry.

Lori in Decatur

January 6th, 2010
1:48 pm

Mark at 11:49 am, yes! I appreciate you saying this so well! I believe this exactly! I believe in paying taxes for services that provide a manner of living, such as having police officers or firemen come to my house when I call 911, and having trash picked up when I put it on the curb, and driving on roads where potholes have been filled, or when I had to, going to a health clinic to receive care, and collecting unemployment checks for 4 months. I work two jobs now, pay taxes to my County, my State and my Government, and expect to pay a bit more in taxes in order to pay less for my health care. Because I take very good care of myself, I only go to the doctor for maintenance visits and an occasional prescription. I do not object to my tax dollars going toward someone less fortunate than me. I believe in caring for the common man, which contributes to the greater good of all our communities. As I said at the beginning of this blog, I support government health care and look forward to having it as an option to the employer “paid” healthcare that cost me personally $1000 in 2009 for two doctor visits, two pap smears, one mammogram and two prescriptions. Basic health care should be available at a competitive and reasonable cost! Please God, save me from Hannity followers!

GoldenRule

January 6th, 2010
3:04 pm

I agree with you 100% glad you pointed out the undeniable FACTS that some of the unreasonable folks that comment here cannot deny:

“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.”

Great post, great points, please keep it coming.

tk

January 6th, 2010
3:17 pm

Ms. Tucker has no clue about this complicated topic of health care reform. Her reasoning is both shallow and uniformed, similar to her president, and she is going to be shocked when she realilzes its ultimate impact on the middle class and on the future of Medicare and Medicaid. Then she’ll be sorry for supporting this — or will she?

mysticaltyger

January 6th, 2010
7:03 pm

My objection to health care reform isn’t that the system we have is just fine. It’s that pretty much all of the critics have said it is wholly inadequate in reducing costs. Much of the real health care reform needs to happen with behavior change. There must be some kind of incentive system set up to get people to eat healthier and generally take better care of themselves. Otherwise, we are all going to go broke trying to pay for all of this. The bill in Congress simply won’t get the job done. And just about any analyst with any objectivity is saying so.

surferdude

January 6th, 2010
9:08 pm

“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.”

Perhaps Ms. Tucker should research the Hawaiian mandate before making a claim that an insurance mandate has strong positive correlation with longetivity. The Hawaiian islands have a demographic composition that is substantially different than the mainland. Persons of Japanese descent are the largest or second largest group living in the islands. Does anyone know which demographic has the longest expected life span in the US? it is Japanese woman. i wonder if there are any other possible explanations for the longer life expectancy? how about the pleasant year round weather, more opportunities for outdoor physical activities, and diet. hence, drawing a conclusion about life expectancy based on the insurance mandate is sophmoric at best.

since the hawaiian plan is under discussion. what are some specific parts. employers must provide insurance if an employee works 20 or more hours a week. guess what, many employers only offer part-time work so that they do not have to provide insurance. thus, hawaii has seen an increase in part-time workers. because of this, most part-time workers in the state will jump at a new job that provides insurance even if it means much lower cash salary. this will happen here in the mainland if the employer mandate is part of the final reform.

while some may look at hawaii’s higher share of insured than the mainland; however, i would examine those figures very closely as military personnel and their families represent an out-sized share of the local population.

lamar

January 6th, 2010
10:01 pm

Ms. Tucker would be better informed to read the op/ed across the page from this article. Having spent the last 20 years in and out of hospital emergency depts during all hours of the day, and especially the nights, I have seen the whole spectrum of the human experience who fill the er and use it as their primary care – many times the result of their own bad lifestyle decisions. I have never seen one person lying in the parking lot after having been denied care whether they truly needed it or not. The current healthcare battle has more to do with politics and much less with the real problems inherent in the healthcare delivery system.

TnGelding

January 7th, 2010
1:10 am

Stanford

January 6th, 2010
9:02 am

You can’t afford to not go to the dentist. Get those teeth cleaned and checked!

Judi from Brooklyn

January 7th, 2010
6:27 am

Mahalo, Cynthia. You are right on all accounts. The Conservatives will say anything, lie about everything and are continuing to ruin our great Country. Ignore them and focus on the issues. We need healthcare reform. Our country has the lowest outcomes and the highest costs. We must fix it. And any bill now is better than none. We will do better over time but we need a stake in the ground. My hope is that our President prevails. I am for him and hope others will lay down their hatred and fear mongering and help out by supporting the efforts of the democrats – those brave souls!

Hawaii Boy

January 12th, 2010
3:59 pm

When I broke my arm in Canada, I went to the hospital, received excellent care with a shorter wait time than I did anywhere in the states, and walked out of there with a cast and no bill! If that happens in Canada, why can’t it be like that here???

Jim Fox

January 19th, 2010
3:51 pm

The solution: In order for an MD and a hospital to have licenses to practice medical care, they should be REQUIRED to accept MEDICARe patients. They should be fined and thrown to prison if they deny MEDICARE patients.

Big Red

January 19th, 2010
5:30 pm

a study that stated that only about 5% of individuals in the United States made more than $100,000. But if you take into account entire households instead, 16% of them nationwide earn over $100,000.

How are the rest of you doing? LOL my thanks to the NO government by the people

Terry

January 26th, 2010
11:48 am

I totally agree, we definitely need a better and an affordable health care plan, with this poor health care that the govt is providing someone is benefiting but a large majority of them are suffering. Check out some affordable health plans here http://www.usa-healthinsurance.com.

Hilary

January 27th, 2010
5:16 pm

I’ve seen a lot of over-weight Hawaiians. There must be a lot of Japanese ladies to make the longevity for the state what it is.

Bob G.

February 16th, 2010
12:03 am

I personally know many people who have no health insurance, but are not eligible for any type of government medical insurance. These people often work for themselves and are not yet eligible for medicare yet. It is far from easy for them to afford the cost of insurance particularly if they have a family. They instead often have to gamble that they do not get sick and many have put off seeing a doctor when they are ill rather than take on the expense of a medical bill.

When I hear Republicans talk about medical concerns it surprises me to think they really believe the insurance companies are out to provide the best care at a fair cost. The truth is that if they can get out of paying a bill they will do everything they can to do so. One of the simple things the Clinton Administration attempted to do was to get one insurance form instead of the hundreds of forms the different companies use. Would this have hurt the insurance companies, well the answer is yes because they might have had to fairly pay bills they may have otherwise been able to get out of because of the form confusion.

I personally understand that some of the costs may need to go up to get a better health care plan, but in the long run this is what is needed and we can not afford to wait any longer. Many who do not agree with this do not understand how much of a strain is put onto emergency rooms because a large percentage of the nation do not have adequate insurance and therefore do not see any family doctor.

Debi

February 23rd, 2010
2:38 pm

My family has insurance that we pay for and use on occasion. My sister is a single mother w/her degree working for the school system in CA and she has none. Her hours are always kept 60min short of being qualified for health benefits and when, in another year, she will get more hours and can be eligible there is a 6mo wait from the date of being qualified. This is after she has worked 5 years for the same school as a special needs teacher. Her son is not eligible for any state funded insurance because her income is just over the requirement to receive it and private packages are out of her financial reach.
Each persons need is different and many would love some solution that can benefit those like my sister and also allow people like my family to keep the insurance we have had for years.

Dan C

February 23rd, 2010
2:46 pm

Hey Cynthia,

Way to neglect mentioning that Queens Medical Center is a PRIVATE hospital and that Rush Limbaugh’s treatment wasn’t subsidized under PHCA.

Thats ok though, keep drinking the koolaid.

K Swit

March 19th, 2010
1:01 am

I may have read 2 articles by Cyntheia over the last 7 years that I can even think about agreeing with her on. She likes to use quotes and other information taken out of context to get her point across. Nice try.
Who can tell me, in a brief, what is in obamas health care plan. I would really like to know.
I work for the government now and was in the US Army and like a lot of other people can tell you first hand that the government is the most wastefull disorganized outfit in the world. Why in the world would anyone want them tohave control of any more of their life than they already do. This is my greatest fear. We need social programs. They don’t need to be run by government.
Mark, you are an idiot. Your rebutal was that 2:1 is the score for health care reform but you don’t list who’s poll you are getting this from. Maybe the Mark poll.
As my American Hero once said “Life is tough, it’s even tougher if your stupid”.

Krazy

April 13th, 2010
2:50 pm

There’s so many points on this article I want to touch on. I will just point out 1 of them.

“If responses from my readers are any indication, critics hold a lot of misconceptions about the proposals before Congress”.

Those so called “misconceptions” are well solidified in history Mrs. Tucker. While it may not be American History, it is History no doubt. History I know the responsible writer that you are have researched but failed to mention. America’s turn will only result in deja vu for all else to see and say I told you so. These are the same things put in place in other countries. Why is it going to be different this time? Oh I know, because GOD has landed in the White House. Just a matter of time.

Mary Slimmer

June 23rd, 2010
2:20 am

Due to excessive weight gain in America, people have been using body slimmers to help contour their body.