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For-Profit Medicine Under Attack

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Even when I think I'm wrong about something I usually end up being right. So I said, many times my usual attitude of warning you, particularly those of you in the medical professions, why should there be profit in making people well?  Why should healing involve profit?  Why should that cost anything?  Why should that cost any more than what it costs?  Well, let me take you to what I hold here now in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers.  Right here.  It is in the New York Times.  It is a story by Eduardo Porter, and the headline:  "Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix."

Do I need to even go any further?  No.  And as H.R., my trusted aide-de-camp and chief of staff, said, "Boy, did you call it."  Yep.  And I'm not surprised.  "Thirty years ago, Bonnie Svarstad and Chester Bond of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discovered an interesting pattern in the use of sedatives at nursing homes in the south of the state.

"Patients entering church-affiliated nonprofit homes were prescribed drugs roughly as often as those entering profit-making 'proprietary' institutions. But patients in proprietary homes received, on average, more than four times the dose of patients at nonprofits.
Writing about his colleagues’ research in his 1988 book 'The Nonprofit Economy,' the economist Burton Weisbrod provided a straightforward explanation: 'differences in the pursuit of profit.' Sedatives are cheap, Mr. Weisbrod noted. 'Less expensive than, say, giving special attention to more active patients who need to be kept busy.'  This behavior was hardly surprising. Hospitals run for profit are also less likely than nonprofit and government-run institutions to offer services like home health care."

So, not only are these people making profits, they're not offering you nearly as many options.  Really evil.  They don't offer as many options nor as cheaply as the nonprofits.  These profit seekers essentially are short-changing you.  "A shareholder might even applaud the creativity with which profit-seeking institutions go about seeking profit. But the consequences of this pursuit might not be so great for other stakeholders in the system -- patients, for instance."

Oh, my gosh.  Folks, when I am right, I am right.  When I nail it, I nail it.  Now, you'll never hear this being discussed anywhere.  You'll never see CNN do a panel discussion for four hours on how Limbaugh accurately predicted an assault on the profit sector in health care.  Well, where's Obama?  Yeah, the woman on the ABC primetime special who asked if her -- that still gives me the creeps, that ABC primetime special back in 2009 where an American citizen, a woman, stood up and asked the president of the United States -- this is before we even had Obamacare -- if her 100-year-old mother would be given a pacemaker.  I tell you what's creepy about it is what have we become?  A citizen has to go on a network TV show and hopefully get the chance to ask the president whether or not he will approve her mom getting a pacemaker. 

What business is it of his? But there she was asking the question. Her real point was (paraphrasing exchange), "Look, my mom is a hundred years old, and she really likes to live. She got a great spirit, a great will to live. Will you factor that in when making these kinds of decisions?" And Obama said, "No. That's too nebulous. The will to live? How do you assess that? No, probably the compassionate thing to do is just give them a pill.

"Zone 'em out for their remaining, short moments on the planet and give them all love you can and then wave good-bye at the last moment. That's it." And all because they don't have the money. The government's gonna run it and they don't have the money. So, anyway, "A shareholder might even applaud the creativity with which profit-seeking institutions go about seeking profit. But the consequences of this pursuit might not be so great for other stakeholders in the system -- patients, for instance.

"One study found that patients' mortality rates spiked," that means they went up for those of you in Rio Linda, "when nonprofit hospitals switched to become profit-making, and their staff levels declined." So get this: Profit-making leads to more death. Hospitals seeking profit equals a higher mortality rate. It's right here in the New York Times. "These profit-maximizing tactics," so now seeking profit is a tactic, "point to a troubling conflict of interest that goes beyond the private delivery of health care.

"They raise a broader, more important question: How much should we rely on the private sector to satisfy broad social needs?" Folks, this is just the first four paragraphs of this New York Times story, and it's all here. Everything that our future holds is right here in these four photographs. Profit in the health care system, bad. Nonprofits, good. Private sector medical care, bad. Government-sector medical care with no profit, good.

Private sector profit seeking health care, higher death rate. Nonprofit medical care, lower death rate. It was so easily predicted. It was easy for me to see. Some people still ask me when I make a prediction (a really, really, really wacko prediction), "Why are you making that prediction?" Because I know the left. I know who these people are, and I know what they're going to do before they do. I know what they're thinking before they're thinking it.

I know what they're feeling before they're feeling it and I know where all this is gonna go particularly if they're not opposed and even if they are opposed they're still gonna go there. So right here it is: "Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix," and it isn't gonna be long before the question is gonna posed exactly as I posited. It gets very close in this story. Why should there be profit in making people well? And if seeking profit causes more people to die, then what has happened to our country?

So the entire backbone/foundation of capitalism is under assault yet again, and I'm convinced people that read the New York Times are the equivalent of low-information voters. All they know is what's in the Times. They're low-information voters. They're gonna eat this up. They're gonna eat it pick up, and they're gonna be quoting it. It's gonna be all over Twitter and Facebook. It's gonna cascade all over this country. It's gonna dovetail quite nicely with where everybody is culturally and emotionally in the country right now.

Everybody's hurting, the economy's stagnating, but we all want to be well. Why should people be making a profit while they administer health care? It's not fair! It's greedy! It's selfish! And it leads to some people not even being treated. If they can't pay, if they don't have insurance, that means no profit. That means they don't get treated. That means they die! See what capitalism does? It kills!

We're on the cusp.

We're on the edge of this becoming the new reality.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: The New York Times piece, "Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix," gets the ball rolling, of course, on the assault on profit in health care. During the break I went to the New York Times website just to put see comments to the story. I was not surprised. Here's a typical comment from a New York Times reader, a low-information comment: "This is right on! The private health care system is the heart of the problem. We will never reduce health care costs without recognizing this fact."

So there you go.

Right off the bat, the New York Times editors can say success has been won. All of the comments are like that. The problem with private health care is profit. And the reason costs are out of control is profit, and the reason people don't get treated is profit. So the Times has succeeded in getting exactly the response they wanted from their low-information readers. Here's another comment:

"Another result of for-profit health care is that it has become far more lucrative to 'treat' patients than it is to cure them." Well, hey, remember Obama who actually got this ball rolling way back early on in the health care debate? Obama accused doctors of needlessly doing tonsillectomies! He accused doctors of needlessly doing a lot of surgeries. I think it was amputation. Yeah, he said that some doctors did amputations unnecessarily just to be able to charge for it.

And he's had similar cutting comments about the insurance industry in health care. So he is a willing participant in getting his ball rolling. So there you have it, and it's gonna snowball. Now, you ask me, "What can we do to stop it?" We gotta take over the education system, folks. We've gotta reassert ourselves in the public education of this country. Because that, I think, is the root of where, for example, capitalism being misunderstood began. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  That's right.  Obama made two allegations, that doctors are taking tonsils out for money instead of diagnosing it as allergies.  Tonsillectomies because there's more profit.  Doctors choose amputation because surgeons get paid more than physicians.  Those are both YouTube entries if you wanted to check out Obama actually saying it.  So I'm just telling you the all-out assault is on now as it has been.  This is really just the next phase in the assault on private sector health care.  And private sector health care in this country gave the world the undisputed greatest health care system in the world.  It's under assault, and it is about finished.  It has been effectively nationalized.  I think it is finished. 

But with the left, nothing is ever over.  They continue to hammer nails in the coffin after the patient's dead and buried.  So now nailing health care and continuing to justify what Obama's done by assaulting profit in health care as the reason more people die in this country is now underway.  And so people say, "Okay, you can tell us all these rotten things.  What do we do?"  I'm telling you, folks, there has to be an all-out assault. First, the Republican Party's gonna have to recognize what it's up against, and they don't.  I don't think they're willing to admit who they're up against, what they're up against, because they don't really want to do what's necessary to fight it.  My honestly held view. 

The second thing is, an all-out assault is gonna have to made on the minds and hearts of low-information voters.  They are the product of a culture that's been debased and simplified and corrupted basically by the public education system and a multicultural curriculum.  It's taken a while.  I mean, this didn't expect overnight and fixing it isn't gonna happen overnight.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

By the way, on this profit being an evil component in health care. I just want to remind you that Stephen Moore, the Wall Street Journal guy, did his interview with Boehner. Boehner reported that Obama told him (summarized), "We don't have a spending problem, and I'm tired of hearing about it. We have a deficit because of health care. We have the huge national debt and a giant deficit every year because our health care system doesn't make any sense."

That's what Obama told Boehner, according to Boehner.

Well, makes sense, doesn't it?

Obama, I'm sorry, also believes that the problem with health care is profit. Profit adds unnecessary cost. Profit adds unfair cost and expense. And it's unfair. Why should anybody make money making somebody well? Why should anybody make money on health care? There will be a lot of: "Why should doctors be richer than anybody else? Why should doctors be the guys have two houses?

"It's almost mandatory on all of us to heal people who are sick! The people who go to school and learn how to do it and are trained to do it, they have an even greater responsibility to heal people. Can you imagine, Rush, turning somebody away because they don't have enough to pay you and you can't make a profit? What kind of culture are we, Rush?"

That's where we're headed, and Obama has set the table. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Here is Bill, East Pennsylvania.  I'm glad you called, sir.  Great to have you with us.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  Thanks for taking my call.

RUSH:  You bet, sir.

CALLER:  I just wanted to say that I think the obvious comeback for doctors and other caregivers to the idea of working nonprofit would be that they be excused from paying off the loans that they accrued from getting their education.

RUSH:  Interesting point.  Doctors accrue a lot of debt in their education.  And so if doctors are not gonna be permitted to earn any money practicing medicine, they should be exempt from paying off their student loans.

CALLER:  Correct.

RUSH:  By the way, what about this.  If we're gonna take the profit motive out of medicine, why should there be any profit in teaching a young child to learn?

CALLER:  There you go.  Correct.

RUSH:  Why should there be any profit in lecturing students in the process of educating them?  Why should there be any profit for universities?  Do you realize how many people can't go to school because of how much it costs?  Do you realize how many people choose not to because they don't want to incur the student loan?  Can you imagine how much less a higher education would cost if there were no profit?  Will somebody ever advance that notion?  See, the education institution in this country is profoundly left, profoundly liberal.  It is loved, adored, and appreciated. 

In fact, when you hear all of the complaints about private sector businesses raising prices, Big Oil, Big Pharmaceutical, Big Retail, and you hear politicians railing against all these price increases, railing against profit, railing against exploitation, railing against obscene profit in the case of Big Oil, tuition goes up every year. You never hear these politicians or anybody in the media rip the high cost of an education.  What do you hear?  Instead of the high cost being criticized or ripped and the people involved in charging those prices ripped and criticized, we hear of more creative ways to finance the expense. 

We look for the federal government to take over the student loan program, making it more affordable, supposedly.  Never once are tuition increases criticized the way Big Oil, Big Pharmaceutical, Big Retail, Big Food, are criticized.  And the reason is, is that the education system in this country is the province of the left, and it is where they do their indoctrination.  And the people who do it are gonna be rewarded for it.  They're going to be paid.  They will never take the profit out of education.  Their own people, the professors, the grad assistants, the teaching assistants, they will be paid.  The university professors, presidents, they will be paid. 

Everybody involved in education, i.e., the indoctrination of young liberals, will be paid.  They'll be paid pretty well, and they'll get tenure.  Can't fire 'em.  And nobody will ever complain about it.  Put let a CEO at Big Oil have a golden parachute, and all hell will break loose.  So they protect their own, and they ensure that their own get paid.  The stimulus bill, the first massive almost trillion-dollar stimulus of Obama in 2008, do you know where most of it went?  Teachers.  Teachers unions.  In Wisconsin, 75% of the stimulus that Wisconsin got went to public sector employees and primarily teachers. 

Now, there are bunch of reasons for this.  One is the money-laundering scheme that is public sector unions and their relationship to the Democrat Party.  The way it works is very simple.  You have public sector unions and the union members pay dues.  The dues are collected by union leaders, and the dues are what fund Democrat campaigns.  The dues fund campaign ads, campaign donations.  But there aren't any dues if the teacher doesn't work.  So we had an economy where unemployment was skyrocketing.  The stimulus was to ensure that dues paying union members were not laid off, so that the money-laundering scheme could condition. 

The vast majority of the stimulus money went to teachers and other public sector union jobs.  It didn't go to creating work on roads, bridges, repairs, private sector jobs.  It was simply a money grab presented to the country under false pretense.  It was a way for Obama to write the Democrat Party a check for $787 billion.  So the point being, when they assault profit in health care, when they assault profit everywhere in the private sector, which they're doing, they will not assault profit in education.  They will not assault profit that results in anybody in education being paid a very high page.  They will protect their own because they know that the education system is what is enabling them to advance their agenda relatively easily all across the country. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: So the profit motive, if you're just joining us, I made a prediction last year that it wouldn't be long before the left started attacking the profit in health care, under the theory, the belief that it's immoral for there to be profit taking in curing people who are sick.  Why should somebody get rich making somebody else well?  Why should anybody profit from the illness of a fellow citizen?  Why should that happen?  And, right on cue, the New York Times with a story today raising that very premise and quoting people talking about how immoral it is. 

They even say in the New York Times story that nonprofit hospitals do better.  That there is a higher death rate, mortality rate in for-profit hospitals 'cause they turn people away who can't pay.  The nonprofits, they're just wonderful people, and they treat everybody, and they have a lower death rate.  So the push is on for celebrating nonprofits.  You know, there really is no such thing as a nonprofit.  All a nonprofit is, is an organization that claims on its books at the end of every year that it didn't make any money. But the people that work at nonprofits score like bandits.  I would think if they're gonna be honest, a nonprofit, nobody should make anything.  They should be reimbursed for the expenses involved, and that's it. 

But the people that run nonprofits earn lots of money.  They have nice new buildings.  They have cars.  They have expense allowances.  The low-information voter thinks nonprofit are people sacrificing for the common good and they're not burning any money and they're not getting rich.  Why do so many people want to go into 'em?  I'll give you an example of a nonprofit.  You know what, nonprofits don't pay taxes.  The Harvard Endowment is a nonprofit.  They claim to be.  The Harvard Endowment makes about $10 billion in profit every year.  They don't pay a penny in taxes.  Some people say that Harvard is the ultimate hedge fund, but Harvard has had a pretty good year.  They're returning a 21% return on their investments.  It has an endowment of about $40 billion.  That's what's invested. 

People donate to Harvard, it goes to the Harvard Endowment, it's there for a rainy day. And when the rainy day comes, they never spend it.  They ask for a federal bailout, or they ask for more donations.  A lot of nonprofits are that way.  They have this big pool of money for a rainy day when the economy goes south or whatever, but they never spend it.  So Harvard, they have a return on their investment.  The endowment is invested, it returns 21%, $10 billion in profit, no taxes on it.  I guarantee you the people that work at the Harvard Endowment make a lot of money. 

Now, here we are with the New York Times today, nonprofits.  They are morally superior.  They don't exploit people.  They don't earn a profit on the misery of others like doctors do and hospitals do.  And don't forget, Obama accusing doctors of performing needless surgeries and amputations just to charge more.  He did that in 2009.  It won't be long, we're gonna see bumper stickers, "Profit kills."  Mark my words.  And you know where it's gonna happen next?  In fact, I'm surprised it didn't happen here first.  When I predicted that profit would be attacked in health care, I also said that profit would be attacked in food.  Everybody has to eat.  That isn't an option. 

Sometimes going to the doctor, not getting treated, that's an option.  But everybody has to eat to survive.  You have to eat to live.  Well, if that's the case, why should anybody profit on that?  That's something we have no choice over.  We have to eat.  Why should there be profit in it?  We shouldn't the people who provide food or work in that industry just provide it for what it costs them?  That would be the compassionate thing.  That would be the understanding thing.  Why rip people off?  Why exploit, which is what profit is.  Profit is exploitative. 

And that takes me to Harold Meyerson in the Washington Post.  He's all upset at Obama's fiscal cliff avoidance bill where supposedly the rich got a tax increase.  Meyerson properly points out (paraphrasing), "No, no, the real rich didn't. The asset rich don't have any income, therefore they don't pay any income taxes.  The real rich live off of profits, capital gains.  Capital gain's a profit on an investment, and that is not taxed hardly at all compared to income."  The left is never happy. 

Curtis, West Jefferson, Ohio.  Great to have you on the program, sir.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hey, Rush, glad to speak to you again.

RUSH:  Thank you, sir.

CALLER:  It's an honor to talk to you.  My comment is on what you just finished talking about, profits, you know, doctors making a profit.  You know, they spent the money to get the education.  They chose that profession to ply, you know, to make their way through the world.  Why should a plumber make a profit then?  You know, it's life threatening if they let septic tank back up and all that stuff comes up in your yard and makes a terrible mess, somebody could die.  Why should they make a profit?

RUSH:  Because they're unionized and unions are protected.  And unions are the result of profit seekers.  Unions are the way the average guy gets even with evil corporateers.  The unions are godsends.  The unions have a special status, because they represent the rising up of the average man against the evil corporateers and profiteers.  And so the plumber or the union guy is simply getting even with the evil management people and the owners.  And that's why they are protected.

CALLER:  Well, I don't see the difference between, you know, like I say, even a mechanic. Your car gets a wobbly frond end, you could die, you could crash and die.  Why should a mechanic make a profit?  They're not union.

RUSH:  Well, once this ball gets fully rolling, you're gonna have people asking these kinds of questions.

CALLER:  I truly believe it. 

RUSH:  Until it affects them, and then they're gonna want an exemption.

CALLER:  Well, I don't work for a union now, but I've been in two different unions, three different ones as a matter of fact throughout my lifetime, and I don't see where they helped me at all.  I ended up kicked to the curb with 350 other people, you know, lost my income because of unions.

RUSH:  They may not-a helped you.  That really isn't the point.  The point is what the union represents image-wise, brand-wise to the left.  The union, not the individual union member, the union itself -- and I guess this might descend to the union member -- but the union represents the rising up of the exploited common man, the hoi polloi, and after being exploited and used and taken advantage of and underpaid, overworked, the union represents triumphing over evil greed.  And therefore whatever the unions end up with is moral.  Whatever the unions end up with is justified. 

The left is gonna protect itself.  The left is never gonna subject itself to these cockamamie theories, just like in education.  But the real point of this, folks, is that all of these things are being taught.  Your kids are going to school and they're hearing this.  Your kids are growing up thinking this.  What it means is that they are simply much more easily reached as future Democrat voters, as future believers in the moral superiority of government, of command-and-control economies, of Central Planning, making sure everything's fair, making sure everything is equal and just and all of that.  See, all of this is not really oriented toward anything other than the never-ending expansion of government and government power and, of course, the people in it. 

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: Anson, Texas.  Hello, James.  It's great to have you with us, sir.  Hello.

CALLER:  Rush, it's a pleasure talking to you.  Yeah, what my comment was is that I used to work for one of the largest orthopedic companies in the world out in New Mexico.  And one of the, quote, unquote, "nonprofit hospitals" one year made more money than the for-profit hospital.  And what it basically boils down to is the only thing that's nonprofit about a nonprofit hospital is that they don't pay taxes.  They don't take deductions, they don't do anything. 

RUSH:  Exactly.

CALLER:  Their CEOs get paid big bonuses for hitting numbers, too, you know?

RUSH:  Exactly right.  What happens is at the end of the year, the books balance and there's no profit. They're not allowed to make profit.  Therefore, they pay no taxes.  But the people that work at 'em do pretty well, particularly the people that run them do extremely well.  Nonprofits are rising in popularity, growing in popularity.  In fact, take a stroll to your nearby college campus and just grab a random student.  Ask 'em, "What do you want to do?  Why are you here?"  I guarantee you you'll be surprised at the number of them who tell you they want to good work for a nonprofit. 

Now, as far as the student's concerned, the reason they want to go for a nonprofit is because there's morality there. There's no profit. There's just good works.  It's nothing but compassion.  It's nothing but people who care.  There aren't any concerns about people making money. There is no exploitation. There's no ripping people off. It's just... It's clean, and it's really compassionate.  And that's how nonprofits are sold.  It's morally superior to people engaged in profit.  But the people who work at nonprofits, what do they do?  They go out and raise money. They sell things. They ask for donations.

They live off of other people. 

They live quite well off of other people, in fact. 

They spend much more than they take in.  It's just that they expense it all on their taxes. I mean, they file. They have to file for 501(c)(3) or whatever the form is for nonprofit. They're not allowed to be involved in politics, even though they are. They're not allowed to do a lot of things, like make profit, but they do.  But he's exactly right.  The people that work for 'em make big money, and they drive nice cars, and they have nice houses.  You gotta spend the money somewhere. 

You can't show a profit at the end of the year no matter what you raise. So everything's an expense.  The salary's an expense, whatever accrues to people.  It can be (and not all of them are) a pretty nice scam.  But they sell themselves on the notion that they're morally superior, that they're not oriented toward money, that they're not doing what they do to earn money. They really care about social justice and a level playing field, helping the poor. They really care, and that's why they're attractive to young skulls full of mush.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Okay, west Massachusetts up next on the phones.  This is Jim.  Great to have you on the EIB Network, sir.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hi, Rush.  Thanks for taking my call.

RUSH:  Yes.

CALLER:  Hey, I'm an emergency room doctor in western Mass, and again, thanks for taking my call and thanks for addressing this issue.  One comment about profits and health care.  Thirteen years to get to where I am today, $220,000 in debt.  I would gladly take a pay cut the day Obama is willing to pony up for my student loans and when the trial lawyer's association is willing to back off on the frivolous lawsuits and accept tort reform as part of the health care --

RUSH:  Now, that is interesting, because the Democrat Party will never make a move on the trial lawyers --

CALLER:  Never.

RUSH:  -- like they will on you.

CALLER:  Never.

RUSH:  In fact, you know what the regime is actually doing? I've heard this.  Maybe you know for sure.  I've heard that the regime is forgiving certain doctor student loans if they'll agree to locate in certain places the government wants them to go.  Is that true?

CALLER:  Yeah, it is true, but unfortunately you end up working for half the pay at those places.  I did the calculations. In the end it wasn't worth it for me.

RUSH:  I hate to tell you, but you started out by telling us how much your education costs.

CALLER:  Yep.

RUSH:  Now, there was a time in America where you'd be admired for 13 years of work and $220,000 that you had to pay back, and you'd be admired because you undertook that 'cause you love it and you want to help people and you want to make them well and you want to serve your fellow man.  Today, you get no sympathy for that.

CALLER:  And I have to say, you know, I started with nothing but good intentions and altruistic intentions and feeling demonized --

RUSH:  Right.  And now you have the president of the United States alleging that people like you perform unnecessary procedures for profit.

CALLER:  Well, unfortunately I take care of a lot of patients on welfare.  I'm happy to do it, but I do it with a gun at my head.  When I make a mistake I've got a lawyer breathing down my neck --

RUSH:  Yep.

CALLER:  -- ready to jump on me with a frivolous lawsuit.

RUSH:  Hell, even if you don't make a mistake, you run the risk of that.

CALLER:  Yep.

RUSH:  I know, man, you're not in a protected class.  You're in a target class.  Like a lot of us are.  And that's what this administration has spawned.  Some are protected; some are targets.  Successful people who are earning are targets.  They're not paying their fair share.  And nobody made you spend that 220.  Nobody made you borrow it.  You want credit, you want people thinking you're some great guy because you went to this expense and spent all this time when all you do is profit for making people well.  That's the attitude being conjured by people. It makes me sick.  It infuriates me.  I'm glad you called.  I appreciate it. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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