RUSH: Henry in Hamden, Connecticut, you’re next. Glad you called. Welcome to the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi. It’s great to talk to you. I’m a longtime listener but first time to call. And I just wanted to say, I listened to what you were saying about you pay for all your medical bills. And I’d love to be able to do that. But, Rush, you are in the top one-thousandth of one percent. And so what about the rest of us who are below that and we need to have health insurance because I risk losing everything working as a self-employed consultant. And so don’t yell at me, don’t yell at me, but I want to hear what your plan is for us that are in the bottom 98 percent.
RUSH: Well, that’s interesting you ask me that. You’ve put me here in the top one-thousandth of one percent.
CALLER: You agree with that, right?
RUSH: Yeah, but it’s irrelevant. It’s irrelevant. I will wager that I spend less on health care a year than you do. And you know why? I’m just guessing, and it may not be true in your case. I don’t know what your family or your health circumstances are.
CALLER: I’m a Vietnam vet. I’m in excellent health. But my health insurance premiums are eating me alive.
RUSH: What is your health insurance for? What kind of coverage do you have?
CALLER: I’m in a managed care plan. I need the protection against if I got some very expensive disease that would wipe me out. If I go to the hospital, I have to pay a certain part. To my knowledge, I ask the question: What value do the insurance companies actually have? All they do is they just pay bills.
RUSH: Now, there’s all kinds of reform that could take place in the private sector to lower your costs. My first plan, I have two things. I would reform the tort laws, and I would make malpractice — I would get rid of the opportunity lawyers have to sue at the drop of a thimble or a misplaced stitch. The second thing I would do would be to put you in control of what you spend on health care by taking all of this money — not even nearly all of it, just a portion of the money we’re already spending on Medicare and Medicaid and giving you the equivalent of a personal savings account four to five thousand dollars a year. You spend whatever you want out of that four to five thousand dollars on your insurance, on your health care, whatever, and what’s left you get to keep. And if everybody had this, prices, because of competition would be forced to come down. What needs to happen to make health care affordable for you is not what Obama’s proposing. It’s going to be more restrictive.
CALLER: I’ll tell you what I think. I think that what we desperately need are more primary care physicians. I think they’re horribly underpaid, and I think they break their backs every day to take care of people.
CALLER: And you’ve got these cardiovascular surgeons, a lot of them are doing procedures — you saw that article in the New Yorker — a lot of them are doing procedures that don’t work. And you should know because didn’t you have surgery at one point, back surgery or something like that?
RUSH: I did, yes.
CALLER: It didn’t work and then you got addicted to drugs. So a lot of the stuff doesn’t work.
RUSH: No, but I was not offered a guarantee. I was not. This is the best option that you’ve got. And sure, I gave it a shot and it didn’t work. But you see, maybe I’m a little realistic here. I don’t expect perfection from virtually every human being who performs any service. I expect them to do their best, but I don’t expect perfection. I know when I’m taking a risk, and I know when I’m paying for it. I don’t go into these kinds of things with guarantees. What we need for you to be able to afford health care that you want is for you to be able to pay for it yourself. Now, we’re spending gobs and oodles of money on health care and it’s not working for you. Almost one-twentieth of the US economy right now is health care. Nobody ought to be having trouble with health care in this country at all. It’s not the fault of the insurance companies. It’s not the fault of the doctors. You’ve just been led to believe that. It’s the fault of the federal government.
Let me tell you something, and I’ll tell Obama at the same time, Henry. Medicaid is over 40 years old. Medicaid covers poor people and the working poor as they’re characterized. It is breaking state budget after state budget. It is breaking the federal budget. Medicaid is trillions of dollars in the red. Now, how can we manage health care for the poor differently than you manage them now? We’re not going to change the procedures. Medicare and Medicaid are going to become foundations for the new public option, Henry, that you’re going to have to opt into, and it’s already in the red. Here’s another question. Medicare has been around for over 40 years. It’s also trillions of dollars in debt. How would a national health care system differ from Medicare? What benefits are going to be cut? What costs are going to increase? How is it going to be managed better than it has been managed now? Henry, the problem you face and millions of other Americans face is not your insurance company. And it’s not your doctors wanting you — you have no right to tell a doctor what he has to do. If a guy wants to be a cardiovascular surgeon it’s his business. It isn’t yours, Henry.
You think we need more primary care physicians, ask yourself why we don’t. Could it be that they’re being not compensated by the people in charge of reimbursing them, Henry? Could it be the government, not the greed and the selfishness of the cardiovascular surgeons? But what business is it of yours to tell anybody what they can do for a living, Henry? You’re not paying them. Somebody else is paying them on your behalf, and they’re skimming a lot of money and the system is in debt and it isn’t going to work by expanding it, Henry. I’m sorry to be yelling at you, but I get so frustrated here. Here’s another question. Mr. President, you say the current health care system is unsustainable. Well, how is nationalizing it going to make it sustainable? I will bet, even though I can afford every dime of medical coverage, I’ll bet the amount of money I spend on health care every year is less than the average American who is just as healthy as I am and doesn’t need it either.
You ever think, Henry, people are going to the doctor too much? You ever think, Henry, that maybe the news media telling you you’re going to die every damn day from some stupid-ass piece of coffee or a loose chunk of change falling from a tree or the planets colliding in a billion years, do you think people maybe are convinced they’re going to die simply because they’re eating trans fat, think that might be why they’re going to the doctor? This whole thing is a rigged scam. And at the root of the problem, Henry, is the United States Government and the state governments that have run this system into the ground and bankrupted it. They’ve made it unaffordable for you.
RUSH: Let me explain again, with a personal story, the whole concept of health care savings. Brian, how many years ago was it that you had to drive me up to that hospital for that intestinal infection? Was that like three years ago or four years ago? I went to Mexico. It was a golf tournament, relating to the common man. I went to Mexico. I came back with a bug. The bug didn’t show up for a month. I had intestinal blockage, incredible cramping pain. I tried to deal with it for two or three days. Finally, I couldn’t. I went up to see the doctor. He said, ‘Oh, you’re going in the hospital, dude.’ They thought I had colon cancer. I knew I didn’t have colon cancer. They did a CAT scan. I can’t do an MRI because of my cochlear implant. There’s a magnet in there. Anyway, short version of this. The hospital stay was two or three days.
Seven thousand dollars was knocked off my cost because I paid cash. Now, you tell me it’s not possible to save money? Because they didn’t have to hassle with insurance. They didn’t have to hassle with anybody’s time, working with all the insurance companies on all the forms. They didn’t have to spend a minute of time with me filling forms out. I had to fill out all the personal data. Because I paid cash, it was $7,000 less than it would have cost some schlub who came in there with insurance. Now, don’t tell me it isn’t possible to save money on health care. It’s the same old thing, folks. If the private sector takes over — if you have to pay for it and it’s priced accordingly — the price is going to come down. The way this happens is with medical savings accounts and with tort reform. At least it’s a good start. How many of you would love not to have to deal with an insurance company for 90% of your health care coverage? The way to do it is an old-fashioned concept: Pay for it yourself! But it’s gotten so out of whack you can’t afford to pay for it yourself unless it is a simple checkup. And whatever’s being proposed by these klutzes in Washington is only going to make this worse. They’ll limit your options, and they’re going to devise a plan that they are not going to enroll in themselves.
Jeff in Columbus Ohio, glad you called, sir. You’re next on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Good afternoon.
RUSH: Yes, sir.
CALLER: I’m a veteran also. And my question is: ‘Why is this vet paying full price for his insurance when all he has to go out and get a catastrophic insurance policy, which isn’t going to be as much, and he can use the VA?’
RUSH: Well, all a valid question, but I figured out at a strategic point in Henry’s call that he was a fraud. You’re saying he’s a fraud because he’s a vet and he had to go out and pay his own policy. What’s that all about? Yeah, he was a fraud all the way around. What I should have asked Henry is: ‘Hey, Henry? How much are you paying for your policy? What is your income level?’ By the time it came around to asking that, I was over time on the segment like I am now, and it didn’t matter because I don’t know if I would have gotten straight answers. ‘Cause Henry’s point was not (sigh) what he was trying to make it out to be. His point was trying to discredit me. He was probably calling from Rahm Emanuel’s office, maybe from the Oval Office.