RUSH: Rachel, 23 years old, Bartow, Florida. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: Well, I have health insurance. I work for a national home improvement chain, and my health insurance is absolutely horrible. It is awful. I cannot stand it. I cannot wait to get out of any part-time job and go into the full-time world after I get my degree. I'd just like to say: That health insurance that I have right now is still better than what Obama is proposing.
RUSH: What is so bad about your health insurance?
CALLER: Well, the number one thing that gets to me is in order for me to go to ER, they don't cover ER visits unless I'm hospitalized. So if I'm in a very severe car accident and I have to be hospitalized, then they'll cover the ER visit. But if I break my arm at seven o'clock at night and have to go to the ER to get it set and everything because my orthopedist isn't open 'til eight a.m. the next day --
RUSH: Well, here's --
CALLER: -- then I have to pay that out of pocket.
RUSH: Well, I got a suggestion for you. There's an emergency room in Texas --
RUSH: -- that I think, over -- I have so many numbers here, but over -- 2,000 visitors by nine patients in six years. Now, that emergency room is obviously treating people that can't pay.
RUSH: A number of times. Another thing you could do is if you have that catastrophic accident but it's not enough to hospitalize you just ask for some pain pills. That's in the Obama health care plan and -- if you can't go to emergency room at least they'll give you some pain medication.
CALLER: I would love to take painkillers but if I were to do that then I couldn't go do my job because heavy machinery is going around, and you don't want to do that.
RUSH: Wait a second. You can't do your job if you're in the emergency room, either, now. We gotta get our priorities right.
CALLER: (chuckles) This is true. This is true. But still, it's absolutely amazing to me how --
RUSH: Look, you're a part-time worker.
CALLER: -- much worse off I would be.
RUSH: You're a part-time worker, but your story illustrates what national health care really ought to be. Catastrophic only, we cover everybody on catastrophic illness, accidents, because that's what breaks everybody's bank. You don't need health insurance for annual checkups, tests. You can pay for that or you can buy a different policy that will be a lot cheaper that would cover those things if you want to. This catastrophic care, that's what scares people your age. You're not worried about a terminal disease right now. You're worried about an accident that lays you up and you can't afford to pay for it.
CALLER: Well, it's funny you say that because I have a herniated disk in my neck. I still go to work every day. I never call in sick. I don't complain about it. I'm not on narcotics. I don't do painkillers. It's just not my thing. I don't like being looped out like that. I don't see a problem. I mean, my health insurance is bad but I still don't have a problem getting the medical attention that I need for my pain.
RUSH: That's the point. That's the reason I took your call. You are not first in line Rachel, and I didn't put you first in line because Rachel is one of my all-time top ten favorite female names.
RUSH: I put you first in line because of this story that I'm holding here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. It's from the Associated Press and it's a cry, sob story that is designed to help Bam get back in gear on health care. The headline: "No Jobs, No Insurance, Hard Times for Young Adults -- One-in-Three Twenty-Somethings is Without Health Insurance." (Gasp!) Oh, no! What a horrible country. It goes on.
CALLER: None of my friends need health insurance. They're never sick. So what does it matter?
RUSH: See, that's the key. Most health expenses come later in life. I'm not going to read the whole story here to you, but it starts: "Emily Weinstein graduated from college into an economic meltdown, and as a self-employed jewelry maker she'll be lucky to bring in $16,000 this year. Heath insurance is out of reach, so she avoids thinking about what would happen if she got sick, was hurt in a traffic accident or was severely burned... 'Would I have to declare bankruptcy at age 23 or would my parents have to bail me out?' asked Weinstein, of Portland, Ore. 'What would I do?'" Oh, what would I do! (crying)
CALLER: You're talking to somebody who has their back surgery already and I'm working part time.
RUSH: Yeah, but wait a second, Rachel, when you go and you read the story and it's three pages long, you find out that all of these people got the health care they needed. They don't have insurance, but they all get health care -- miraculous, timely, brilliant, lifesaving-enhancing, cutting-age health care. In a story "No Jobs, No Insurance, Hard Times for Young Adults," this story nevertheless points out that these people do get health care. It's just not apparently worth paying for. So here we have a system where the vast majority of Americans get all this astonishing medical care that costs so much nobody can afford it (which is a problem, by the way). They may not have insurance, but they're getting health care. This story inadvertently points that out.