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You Must Make This Clear to People: This Veterans Hospital Death Panel Is a Preview of Life Under Obamacare


RUSH: Tom in Huntington Beach, California, welcome.  Great to have you on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hi, Mr. Limbaugh.  What a thrill to talk to you.

RUSH:  Thank you.

CALLER:  I don't know if it's more of a thrill to talk to you or Mr. Snerdley.  But anyway, I wanted to congratulate you on your fine children's book and your award. I think that was just wonderful.

RUSH:  Thank you, sir, very, very much.

CALLER:  I called because I told Mr. Snerdley, I signed up for a VA card over two years ago, and during the last two years I called them... Oh, let me back up.  As you know, before you can get any service with VA, you have to have a primary physician.  So before I left they told me that my primary physician would call me within three days.  It was well over two years ago.  I've called about once a month trying to get a primary physician, and never get a call back.

RUSH:  Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.  They told you you'd get a call from a doctor in two days, and you still haven't heard from 'em?

CALLER:  I still haven't.

RUSH:  Hang on a second.  I thought I had more time. Hang on through the break here.  I thought I had an additional minute.  I misread the clock.


RUSH:  Back to Tom in Huntington Beach, California.  I just want to make sure that what I heard you say to Mr. Snerdley is true, that you signed up for the VA, they told you you would get a call back for a primary physician within a couple of days, and that was two years ago?

CALLER:  Over two years ago.

RUSH:  Over two years.  Have they called you yet?

CALLER:  Very interestingly, just after all this VA business broke, on the 13th I got a call from the VA center here in Long Beach and they asked me if I still wanted a primary physician.

RUSH:  You know, I've heard of people who have signed up with Obamacare and a similar situation, they still don't have a card to prove that they have insurance, should have arrived months ago.

CALLER:  I have the card.

RUSH:  Okay, you've got the card.


RUSH:  But they found out that the doctor they wanted to use isn't in their network so essentially doesn't exist.  But in your case, they promise you a call-back in two days and over two years later they ask if you still want one.  So what are they assuming?  That in the two years since you originally asked for a doctor you've seen somebody and you've gotten better?

CALLER:  Or I died.

RUSH:  Or that you died, right.

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  Do you really think they were calling to see if you died?

CALLER:  No.  They were actually calling to ask me if I still wanted a primary physician.

RUSH:  Well, what did you tell 'em?

CALLER:  I told them I did, and I haven't heard yet.

RUSH:  (laughing) So you're still waiting for the call from your primary doctor?

CALLER:  Yes, sir.

RUSH:  Man.

CALLER:  And I would say that anybody who wants to see a disaster, go to a VA hospital and they'll back out of Obamacare.  It is a shame what they do to those people there, absolute shame.

RUSH:  Look, there is absolutely no doubt about that.  The VA system -- see, this is kind of what undercuts the whole notion that Obama didn't know and was outraged when he found out.  I've been doing this program for 25 years.  Horror stories in the VA, we've had phone calls every year about it.  And part and parcel of the VA is the belief -- I don't know if it's actually stated at recruitment, but there's both an implication and an inference.  The government, the military implies to inductees, to volunteers, people that sign up for the military, and they infer that their medical care is going to be heightened and focused because they are volunteering essentially their lives for this country.

In joining the military they are acknowledging the possibility they could be deployed into a combat zone and be severely wounded or killed in action.  The whole "leave no man behind" thing, there is an implied relationship that everybody in this country has understood for years, that the government will take care of its veterans.  And because of that implied relationship, when that doesn't happen, the attention on it is even more focused and becomes an even greater controversy. 

I mean, this is the assumption.  If there is a group of people the government is really gonna look out for and really try to take care of, it's going to be people who have worn the uniform.  Everybody has just understood this.  Which is why all of these years of the horror stories of the VA have been so shocking, because the questions are natural, how could they let this happen?  These people are special.  These are soldiers.  They're special.  They got wounded in action, killed in action defending this country on missions assigned by their commander-in-chief and other commanding officers.  And yet that relationship doesn't seem to exist. 

The VA, as I say, I get calls here, we have every year for 25 years, and the horror story here or the horror story there.  And this is just the latest.  Now we learn of these deaths by attrition, secret waiting lists, and this is the real bad thing of it.  People on these lists assume that they're being moved ahead of the line.  That's the purpose of the secret list, that they're going to really be taken care of.  Because the backlog is so jammed, the line for treatment at the VA is so long that they've come up with this secret list business, and the people on that list think that they're essentially being moved to the top of the class, or the head of the line, in front of the line.  And they're just being ignored. 

Now, over a hundred people, if you add the Dayton Daily News story today, over a hundred people have died while on these lists.  It's simply unconscionable.  So you have to ask, the natural assumption is that nobody wants these people to die, even if you add the death panel component, nobody wants these people to die, yet they are.  At the very least what we're dealing with here is a total inability to deal with this.  And at worst it's the death panel being done on purpose. 

But no matter how you come down on this, I mean, some of you are not gonna want to believe the death panel aspect, even though the evidence is pretty clear. When you have government employees receiving salary bonuses for ostensibly saving money by virtue of shrinking the number of people on the list, how does that happen?  How do people end up off the list and not treated?  They pass away.  And if you're gonna have government employees bonused on that basis, then you would be not that far out of whack to assume there might be some death panel at work here. 

If you don't want to go that far, at the very least, there is rampant incompetence here and inability to run the medical treatment of the Veterans Affairs system. (interruption)   Why are you shaking your head?  Snerdley says, "Incompetence doesn't say enough."  I don't care what it says.  It's undeniable that they can't do it, no matter what their intentions.  Well, I'm about worn out with good intentions covering for incompetence, particularly when you have rampant loss life taking place.  What good does good intentions do anybody here?  But, see, this Bring Back Our Girls hashtag, that's all you have to do to show you care.  You don't have to actually rescue them and get 'em back.  Just get behind the hashtag, just show you care. 

So these people here, "Oh, we care so much about our veterans," are not do anything for 'em.  "We really care about 'em."  The incompetence is a big thing to me.  Snerdley, do you realize how few people are gonna believe the death panel thing anyway?  But yet we still gotta find a way to convince people that this Obamacare can't work and that everybody's headed for a similar potential as these deaths in the VA.  They just can't do it.  They just can't run it.  There's nobody that has any real world, private sector experience running anything to do with health care or medical treatment or medical care. 

They're bureaucrats that came from the top 10% of their class at some Ivy League school or some school somewhere. They're theoreticians. They've sat around in the faculty lounge and complained and moaned about all the cheap cheaters and corruption there is in the private sector.  "Man, if we ever ran this, we'd straighten it out. We'd fix it, and we'd do it fair."  And here we go.  And the very fact is they can't do it.  And here's one minor, small microcosm of all of Obamacare that everybody can see at the least. 

There are people dying.  If you don't want to believe the death panels are the reason, then you've gotta believe it's incompetence.  But you can't just say, "Well, you know, excrement happens."  'Cause you could be the excrement next time.  We all strive.  (interruption)  Well, of course they knew there were going to be consequences, but it's a bureaucracy.  One person can't do anything on his own.  Okay, so you see people on a waiting list and they're not getting better. The list is getting longer and they're not getting treatment and you're one person, you want to do something about it, you can't.  The chain of command, your bosses, the other bureaucracies you have to work through to get something stamped and approved to grant permission to treat a patient, it's a mess. 

My point is that we're all struggling.  Well, some of us are not struggling.  To some of us it's easy.  But a lot of people are trying to figure out ways to persuade people this isn't gonna work. No matter how big anybody's heart is, no matter how much they care, here is a microcosm of what Obamacare is gonna be if it's fully implemented.  And the reason you want to tell 'em that is because you want to gin up as much popular support for repeal of this as you can. 

The polling numbers on Obamacare continue to worsen.  In fact, The Politico, headline:  "Politico Poll Shows Mounting Danger for Democrats -- President Barack Obama’s job approval slump and voters’ entrenched wariness of his health care law are dogging Democrats ahead of the 2014 midterm elections, and Republicans have captured a lead in the areas home to the year’s most competitive races, according to a new Politico poll."

Let me give you pull quote.  "Illinois, West Virginia and California -- still lean in a liberal direction on several issues Democrats have championed this year, including immigration reform, pay equity for men and women and background checks for gun purchasers." All of that happy horse hockey when you get right down to it. 

"But none of those issues comes close to approaching health care as a major concern for midterm voters. Nearly nine in 10 respondents said that the health care law would be important to determining their vote, including 49 percent who said it would be very important."

That's why we strive to inform and educate people. 

"On social issues, the poll shows the midterm electorate is somewhat more conservative than the country at large: While the broader population has swung in the direction of favoring same-sex marriage, the issue is a tossup with midterm voters. Forty-eight percent of respondents said they support same-sex marriage, and 52 percent said they oppose it."

We're being governed here by a very small minority, and people are fed up with it.  I think people are more fed up with it than anybody knows, to tell you truth.


RUSH:  Wendy in McAllen, Texas.  Welcome to the EIB Network.  Great to have you here.

CALLER:  Oh, my gosh.  I am so excited.  Very pleased to talk to you.  I've been a 20-year listener, so it's a pleasure, sir.

RUSH:  Thank you very much.

CALLER:  Absolutely, Mr. Rush.  I would like to say that my husband is a retired Green Beret when they called them Green Berets, and now Special Ops, 7th Group.  He's a disabled veteran.  And I'm angry, and I was thinking about --

RUSH:  Now, wait, wait, wait, wait. You ran through that very quickly, and I want to take this a little slower.  He's a Green Beret, which, the Special Ops is what they're called now.

CALLER:  Yes, sir.

RUSH:  Was he SEAL?

CALLER:  He was the 7th Group from the US Army.

RUSH:  Okay.  Delta?

CALLER:  Green Beret.  And he's a HALO Jumper and all the kind of above.  So --

RUSH:  Okay, but now he's disabled?

CALLER:  He is, yes, sir.  He is disabled, but luckily he does have arms and legs and he can walk and talk and move and all of the above.  I mean, he has some other, you know, what I call internal things that we deal with, but he is a disabled veteran from Special Ops and Green Beret.

RUSH:  Right.

CALLER:  I was thinking about some of the things you said, and I think recently you just said you're kind of worn out, and I am, too, of the good intentions to kind of cover for those inadequate services or behavior.  And I'm just tired of inexperienced folks that are dealing with the VA and the health issues and the policies, and they're running the services for our veterans.

RUSH:  They're overwhelmed.  I mean, giving them the benefit of the doubt, they're overwhelmed. They can't handle it.

CALLER:  Okay.

RUSH:  No matter how much they care, no matter how great their intentions.

CALLER:  Right.

RUSH:  What did you say, the earliest he could get an appointment for treatment, 90 days, three months?

CALLER:  Yes, absolutely.  I apologize.  Recently we had some help here, health fairs here around in lower Texas and he went and, you know, had some blood drawn, and the one thing that they told him right away was that his thyroid was very low, and that he should do something about it.  And so of course immediately he calls and we don't have a hospital here in the lower valley of Texas. We have to go to San Antonio, which is, you know, like a four and a half hour drive, but we have some clinics, but he called and told them what they had told him, and the wait time was like August, so about 90 days.

RUSH:  Now, is that just for an appointment or is that for the specific treatment that he needs?

CALLER:  That is for an appointment, sir.

RUSH:  I don't know where that happens.  I don't know anybody who calls the doctor and is told three months.  It may be, I just don't encounter it. 

CALLER:  Well, luckily we have other insurance through my work and we have gone to another doctor.

RUSH:  Yeah, but correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't the deal, didn't you all think that should something like this happen, the government's gonna take care of your husband? He's a soldier.

CALLER:  Absolutely.  He put in a little over 20 years, and he is a retired veteran, and he is a disabled veteran as well.

RUSH:  Yeah.  Well, look, look, and by the way, I know in every group of people you're gonna have some bad apples who try to exploit and take advantage of.  But this is happening way too frequently.  Forty people dying, a hundred people dying on a wait list designed to speed up their treatment.  And I know some of you are saying, "Rush, Rush, don't downplay this death panel business."  Hey, we all know it's out there.  For the sake of this discussion we're gonna use the benefit of the doubt.  I know the death panel is obviously a factor in certain cases, whether they want to admit it or not. But even if you take that out, this is just so much incompetence, it's impossible to calculate.


RUSH: Here's Ivy in Akron, Ohio.  It's great to have you with us.  Hello.

CALLER:  Oh, Rush what a delight.  God bless you for what you do for our country.

RUSH:  Thank you very, very much.

CALLER:  I wanted to talk to you a little bit more about Obamacare and why the implications of this VA scandal, well, they're not reserved for when we go to single payer, God help us.  They're already here under a system called Pay-for-Performance.  This VA standard of giving a vet an appointment in 14 days was more than likely one of the quality standards that providers are expected to meet now.  And bonuses resulted when the VA hospital met that standard a high percentage of the time.  But because they couldn't meet that standard they had to get those vets off the books if they wanted their bonuses. 

In the field this is called Pay-for-Performance, or P4P.  Providers are being reimbursed for meeting certain pre-established standards as they phase out traditional fee-for-service reimbursement.  So this is what we can expect in any of the new structures created by Obamacare like accountable care organizations.  And what happened here with our dear veterans was spread across the country because providers that can't meet those standards in many cases 'cause they're swamped already with Obamacare's onerous reporting requirement, if they can't meet those quality standards, they'll have to fudge the data or move us off the books.

RUSH:  Okay.  So, given all of that, explain to me how 40 veterans just die while on this list.

CALLER:  How they died?

RUSH:  How they were allowed to die.  I mean, if the whole point here is to get 'em expedited treatment, they can't find a provider to take 'em and these people need to get their bonus so they find a way to get them off the list and that happens by virtue of them dying --

CALLER:  Right.

RUSH:  -- while they're dying, does no one care?

CALLER:  That's a great question.  You know, obviously somebody's caring because we've got some whistleblowers coming out.

RUSH:  One guy, a doctor in Phoenix.

CALLER:  Oh, I thought there were two, but I'm sure you're right.

RUSH:  Well, no, you may be more informed than I on that.  But even so, two.

CALLER:  I don't know how people live with this, you know, knowing that --

RUSH:  I guess that's what I'm getting to. Okay, so we have to show, to get our bonus, that these people been treated.  And the fastest way to do that is not get 'em treated, but to get their name taken off the list.

CALLER:  Right, don't count 'em.

RUSH:  Don't count them.  And that's really much easier if they've died.  That's pathetic.


RUSH: Whitney in Atlanta, thank you for waiting.  You're next on the EIB Network.  Hello.

CALLER:  Hey, Rush.  Thanks for listening to me.

RUSH:  You bet.

CALLER:  I really enjoy your program.  I'm a new listener, but I've really been enjoying it.

RUSH:  Thank you.  How'd you find it?

CALLER:  I moved to Atlanta two years ago, and I just started asking around for some good talk stations, and somebody recommended me yours.

RUSH:  Well, and you happened to find it on a day that ended up addicting you.  I know how it happens.

CALLER:  Yeah. (giggles)

RUSH:  I would be addicted if I were a listener.

CALLER:  Yeah.  Well, you've been talking about the VA and the potential of how privatization would work. You know, I really believe in privatization.  I work for a consultant firm that does privatized work for the Georgia Department of Transportation, and it's been incredibly successful.  They pay us on a performance basis.  We manage equipment and traffic signals throughout the state, and when we got the signal six months ago, only 50% of the equipment was operational, and in six months we've gotten up to 98%.

RUSH:  Wait a second.  I want to make sure I understand.  The Georgia Department of Transportation has hired you to consult with people to basically fix or modernize the traffic signal network in the whole state?

CALLER:  Not just me. It's Metro Atlanta right now, but it's not just me.  The contract has several consultants on one team. We actually work together with our competitors.

RUSH:  No, I understand that, but it's Metro Atlanta, not the whole state?

CALLER:  Right.

RUSH:  They hired your consulting firm --

CALLER:  Mmm-hmm.

RUSH:  -- and you found that half the equipment wasn't working?

CALLER:  In my corridor, yeah.  Other corridors less. Some corridors were better; some corridors were worse. But the road that I managed, about 50% of it was not working. Yeah.

RUSH:  Now, what do you think it was that made them turn to the private sector to get this fixed?

CALLER:  They just can't do it themselves.  You know, private firms have the money and the resources to do research and development to find more efficient systems, and the government doesn't.  If there's someone in my company... If I don't know what I'm doing on one particular facet of the contract, you know, we've got 10,000 employees nationwide that we can reach out to to help us.  They only have their local employees. They don't have the resources to do these things.  They just don't.  Especially with cutting budgets. 

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  You know, if the Federal Transportation Department doesn't act --

RUSH:  Oh, I know all the trouble. I'm just shocked that this would happen, because it's a tantamount admission that they can't do it -- and then to have to turn to the private sector to get it done? I mean, nobody thinks of traffic lights ray private sector concern.  That's a relatively simple thing the government ought to be doing, and you're telling me that that's even gotten out of hand for 'em.

CALLER:  Well, they're not as simple as they look. (giggles)

RUSH:  Well, I know, but you just need some... Well, you're right.  It needs a lot of computer savvy, synchronization. I understand that.

CALLER:  Yeah.

RUSH:  All of those smarts are in the private sector, obviously.

CALLER:  They are, and I think the same concept can apply to the VA.  You know, we pay private sector on a performance-based system. You know, they get paid and they sign someone up within a certain amount of time, and if they take longer than that, they don't get paid.

RUSH:  Whitney, let me ask you a question.  There may not be an answer. You may not know and you may not even think it's relevant. But do the citizens of Georgia know this arrangement has been made?  The reason I ask is I can't imagine Obama ever publicly admitting the government can't do something, and reaching out to a consulting firm in the private sector to fix something his government can't do.  Now, I do know that corporate cronyism will work, that Obama will give a private sector business grants if they go "green" and move his agenda forward.  But did the people of Georgia know? Was there any kind of public announcement that the private sector was going to take over the operation and repair of this system in Metro Atlanta?

CALLER:  You know, the people that I know are aware, but that's because they know me.  How many people outside of that know, I'm not really sure.

RUSH:  Yeah.

CALLER:  There was a big vote for a transportation budget two years ago, and it didn't pass, and I think that this program was publicly announced as being on it, and I'm not sure the citizens thought it would be worth it.

RUSH:  The reason you might... Folks, I know some of you might be yelling, "What difference does that make, Rush?"  Folks, the reason it matters is that there are way too many low-information people who think government is the only solution to anything, and you and I know that it isn't.  You and I know that that's wrong.  So to me it's simply a matter of teaching people, educating them, and -- if there's real-world experience -- to show them how the private sector works.

Do you realize...? How many people in this country do you think, if they know what the private sector is (if they don't know what that is, say "corporation") hear this and react, "Ewwww!" It's like showing Dracula the cross when you mention the word "corporation."  Democrats have so demonized businesses and the corporation and the small-business sector.  "They don't pay anybody! They lay people off! They fire people! They kill their customers!"

You know the drill. 

So any time there's an opportunity to show people, "Uh, uh, no. In fact, look here at Metro Atlanta where they've privatized the whole traffic light system in order to fix it and get it functioning correctly with reliability and dependability," I think the more that kind of thing happens, the more it should be publicized, and the better it is. That's for, again, the thematic mission here, which is simply to educate and inform as many people as possible about the best way to do things, for them and society and the culture at large.

So, Whitney, I'm glad you called. 

It's great to have you in the audience, too. 

Thanks much. I gotta go, though.  



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