RUSH: Okay, folks, I need your attention. I feel a little guilty here, 'cause I just played a small, little trick on you. I thought I would wait until I got an e-mail or a phone call from somebody to point it out, but that would be cruel. I need to take you back to the woman who called and complained that the hospitals are the one getting rich, the hospital costs $8,000 to buy whatever's necessary for hip replacement.
They charge $33,000 for it. The doctor gets $1,200. I agree, and I start talking about the surgical centers which are alternatives to hospitals. They're not unionized; the hospitals are. That market came into life and there's a cheaper option for surgery in a different place than a hospital. But I just want to remind you something.
There are hospitals going broke, too. Hospitals, emergency rooms, primarily. Not only, but they're really bad. In places where there is rampant illegal immigration, the ERs are closing 'cause nobody pays. It's easy to blame hospitals, and for some people it's easy to blame doctors, and for a lot of people it's easy to blame the insurance companies -- and every time you do be you are playing into the hands of the left.
Every time you blame a hospital and put the blame for what's gone wrong in health care on them or if you put it on the doctors or if you put it on the insurance companies, you know what you're really doing? You're saying we need the government to come in and fix it all. The government is why it's all broken, folks. That's what gets lost.
Every hospital's not raping people. Every hospital's not getting rich. Every hospital's not just blowing people off left and right. Some of them are going broke, too. What happens when they treat people who don't pay, who don't have insurance? People who use their services and don't pay, the insurance doesn't pay 'cause there isn't any -- or whatever they need isn't covered, they eat it. Well, they charge everybody else, but not everybody can pay.
The point is... (interruption) Are you denying that some hospitals are going broke? Are you denying hospitals are going out of business? (interruption) You...? (interruption) The point is, I'm just telling you that we all play into the left's hands and Obama's hands. When we start blaming insurance companies or hospitals or doctors, it's an open invitation for the left to say, "Okay, we'll fix it! You're right. Those people suck, but we're the good people." The government is the reason the system is broken.
RUSH: Charlene in Surfside Beach, South Carolina. Welcome to the program. I'm glad you waited. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you today?
RUSH: I am fine. Thanks very much.
CALLER: I'm calling to make a comment about people begrudging doctors and surgeons their wages. As I was telling the call screener, this has been a soft spot with me for a long time. I don't see people lining up and racing to go to school and give up sometimes 10, 12, 14, 16 years of their lives to get an education so that they can heal people and come out and now they're told, "Well, we'll give you enough so that you can eat."
I don't see anybody else racing to do this. You're right, it is class envy. And that woman was right, the surgeon's wife that called. They do not make what people think they make. They've also got business overhead Rush, as you saw, the surgery centers. Their offices? Their nurses and med techs do not work for free in offices. Any (garbled cell) that these doctors do (garbled) $30,000 a surgeon -- I mean, a surgery -- and stick it into their pocket? No. That's not how it goes. I've seen Medicare amd Medicaid reimbursements go down to sometimes 10 and 25 cents on the dollar.
RUSH: I know. Why don't you just leave it?
CALLER: It's ludicrous!
RUSH: I don't understand why doctors don't just bump out of Medicare. I hear all the complaints and I understand they're real.
CALLER: Well, a lot of them are planning to. You know, fine.
RUSH: You know what? I also understand the devotion some of these doctors have their patients, too. They don't want to leave 'em high and dry. But, Charlene, look, you know as well as I do that this was so predictable, 2009. Obama starts accusing surgeons of unnecessary procedures to enrich themselves. It wasn't gonna be long before doctors and their "obscene salaries" and profit were gonna end up being a target.
I want to reiterate something, folks.
I know how easy it is to complain about a hospital or an insurance company or a doctor. I just want you to know that every time you do it, you are playing into the Democrat Party's hands. You're playing into Barack Obama's hands. I guarantee you when these little leftists out there listen to this program and they hear all of you complaining about hospitals, they're just rubbing their hands in glee.
They're gonna say to themselves, "Yep! The only solution is the government. We're the only ones that are fair. The government will fix it. The government will make sure that they don't get ripped off. They'll bring those hospitals in line. They'll bring those insurance companies in line." I'm telling you, the reason the American health care system is the mess that it is, is traceable to the earliest days of the government getting involved in it.
It's only gotten worse, and we reached a tipping point when patients no longer were able to pay standard, ordinary, everyday medical costs. That's when it was over. That's when there became problems. When there was no market relationship to cost versus service, it was over, and that would be true of any business. If the cost of a hotel room was more than anybody could afford, the hotel business would go out of business.
Any business would.
The health care business stayed in business and ended up being subsidized -- by the insurance companies, you name it -- because the government saw it. Every government, every government in the history of governments has seen health care as the easiest way to command and control over the population. They've all done it. I don't care if it's Castro, you name it. Mao Tse-tung. I don't care where you go. Even Hitler.
Yes, any socialist organization or the Western European democracy says, "Health care, it's a moral right," and once they got involved in it, it's done. That's the easiest path with the fewest obstacles to command and control the whole population. Every time you start blaming one of these entities -- and in some cases it may be justified. There are charlatans everywhere. There are doctors ripping people off; there are hospitals that do.
It's standard. It's human nature. But I you start blaming an industry or blaming a collective group of doctors or whatever, you are playing right into the left's hands. I'm just warning you. The Official Program Observer with a raised hand indicating a question. (interruption) It's an ugly question? (interruption) Okay. See, you put me in a bind here. I don't know what the question's gonna be.
Yet you're gonna ask it while we're live, and I may be on the spot with this... (interruption) All right. So what is it? (interruption) Mmm-hmm. (interruption) Mmm-hmm. (interruption) See? See? Here's the question, and it's the wrong question. Nobody's said this. The question was, "Well, what would happen?" Ask that again the exact way you asked me that question. (interruption)
Yeah. (interruption) Okay. "What would happen long term if there were no Medicare, Medicaid?" Well, if you... (interruption) Well, you're assuming somebody wants it to happen or you wouldn't ask me the question. You're thinking what I'm saying is the government's problem. "Medicare, Medicaid, gotta get rid of them if we're gonna fix the health care system." Well, it's a natural assumption.
If you hear a guy like me saying, "The problem with health care is the government, and the only way we're gonna fix it and bring actual market be factors back into play and get people being able to afford what things cost," then you're naturally going to think, "Okay, you gotta get rid of Medicare and Medicaid." So the question was, "Well, what are the long-term effects of getting rid of them?" So that's classic.
I haven't even said get rid of Medicare and Medicaid. So your question paints me as the big denier to people who are sick. That's not the solution. You don't go cold turkey on anything. This has been standard operating procedure for 50 years, 30 years. You just don't take it away just like you don't alcohol. You don't just take it away. In a lot of things, you've got to taper people off of things, particularly something like this.
The fix for this is long term.
The fix for this is not overnight.
The fix is teaching people about the conservative jet and how it flies and having people not be afraid to take risks. But some people... As is the case in everything, not just health care, there are certain people in our country (you can express it as a percentage) who are simply incapable of taking care of themselves. They're literally, genuinely incapable. Those people you help.
What we've done is expand that number to way beyond what's real with the Americans with Disability Act or with the Victim Status Act of 2013. Whatever it is that we've done, we've created this entitlement mentality over a course of a number of years. When I left home to go to Pittsburgh in 1971, I thought nothing of it. Today that's a scary thing to people 20 years old.
"Leave home to go to a new city? What guarantee did you have?"
I didn't have any. I had a guy tell me that he'd pay me $175 -- that what was it -- a month or whatever. I forget what it was, but it wasn't much. It was more than I was making living home, but it was what I had to do if I wanted to realize my dream. I had to pack everything I had in my Pontiac LeMans in the middle of winter and head to Pittsburgh.
I didn't have a place to live when I got there. None of that was taken care of. I had to find all that when I got there. On the way, my windshield wipers stopped working in a blizzard. I kept driving. Every gas station I saw, I pulled in and said, "Pour some antifreeze on the windshield," and I kept going. Today, some people would do it, but back then?
"Oh, wow!" That's too risky to some people now, but back then it was not. It was just what you did. I think about the frightening aspects of it, 'cause there was always home if it didn't work out. I'll admit that. I could always turn around and go home if it didn't work out, but that's the last thing I intended to do. There was no way I was gonna do that. But in fixing this, that's why I like the whole medical savings account business.
I think one of the first things to do -- not my idea, either -- is medical savings account, health savings accounts. Put people back in touch with what their medical care actually costs and therefore have that determine how much they seek. Then over here you have catastrophic insurance to handle genuine catastrophes that nobody can afford out of their own pocket. Those happen. You accommodate those.
That's the way everything in health care is treated, as nobody can afford it. That's where it's gotten to. Nobody can afford health care. That's what everybody believes. If you get really sick you go bankrupt, that's what everybody believes. Everybody's out there scared to death over this, unnecessarily so. But that, once again, serves the purposes of government.
I'm looking at a story, since we're talking about it. Medicare. We've done the story but there's a little addendum to it. Medicare paid a tiny group of doctors... It's this AP story, the first salvo in the War on Doctors and how they shouldn't be profiting from making people well and all that. This is the story that some doctors made $3 million (Gasp!) from Medicare and Medicaid, and one doctor made $21 million. Well, you want to know whose doctor that is?
"Topping Medicare's list of highest paid physicians from it's claims database was Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, whose relationship with," dadelut dadelut dadelut, "Sen. Robert Menendez, Democrat-New Jersey, made headlines last year after news broke that the lawmaker used the doctor's personal jet for trips to the Dominican Republic" for women he did not know. "Medicare paid [Senator Menendez's donor] $20.8 million."
That's who the doctor got $21 million is -- a crony and donor of a Democrat senator.
RUSH: John in Downingtown, Pennsylvania. I've got about a minute but I wanted to get to you. Hello, sir.
CALLER: Yes, Rush, great show. Hey, I have a question requiring your expert analysis. What do you think's gonna happen to the doctors and the hospitals when the patients fail to pay these high deductibles that will be required?
RUSH: Okay, now, the first part of the question: Hospitals have closed because of this.
CALLER: No kidding.
RUSH: Hospitals have closed. In the ER particularly, they're flooded with illegal immigrants who don't have insurance and don't have any money. The law says they've gotta be treated, so they walk in there. At one count (this is years-old information), 11 ERs at hospitals in Southern California just closed and shut down.
So if people refuse to pay because they can't afford it, at some point the providers are not gonna be able to provide care. That's what happens. If the doctors get fed up they'll leave the system. If the system doesn't pay them fairly or at all, they'll find other patients to make money and to eke out a living. I mean, what happens to any business where the customers don't pay? That's how you answer that.