RUSH: A couple more things about this health care. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not I should divulge how much the hospital stay, the tests, the doctors and all that cost last week. I go back and forth on it. I went in to the booth on the other side of the glass, and they were all saying, ‘Really? It cost less than a car?’ I said, ‘Yeah. It cost less than your average SUV that your average family wants.’ And they said, ‘Well, how much was it?’ I told them and they were shocked. And I smiled. One of them thought it would be six figures that this cost. They could not believe that it cost what it cost. So I’ll ask you when we get to the phones if anybody wants to take a guess at what it cost, I’ll go that way. By the way, we’re all in the habit of saying the health care system, but there is no real health care system. There is going to be if Obama gets his way, but the Queen’s Medical Center and hospital in Hawaii competes with other hospitals. I mean they were very happy I was going to go out and do a press conference, very happy about that. They compete and there may be a system in Hawaii, state controls and so forth, but regardless, use the word ‘system’ or not, what happened to me worked and it was not because I make whatever numbers of millions of dollars a year.
You don’t need to make a million dollars a year to afford what I got last week in Hawaii. You do not. This whole notion that only the super rich can afford it, there’s so many myths and misnomers. Again, I was charged 30% less because I didn’t use insurance. That ought to tell somebody something and I’ve had that experience before. But the health care system at Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu worked.
RUSH: We go to the phones as promised. We’re going to start in Springfield, Illinois. John, I’m glad you called, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Hey, I’ve listened to you since you were on little WITV in Belleville and your ratings were so high that KMOX had to pick you up in St. Louis.
RUSH: Yeah, that’s right. Thank you very much, sir. I remember that well.
CALLER: Well, I’m a cardiologist. I’m driving in central Illinois, and I wanted to tell you that you did not get any different care than anywhere else. We do similar things to every person, and we don’t ask them how much money they make or who their insurance is. We just take care of them.
RUSH: Well, I know. One of the many myths about this is that certain people get special treatment.
CALLER: Hold on a second. If there’s nationalized health care and the ability to do routine cardiac caths is limited, well, you wouldn’t have gotten your cardiac cath the next morning. You would have had to wait two or three weeks. You would have gone home and you would have had to come back when they said you could come back.
RUSH: Exactly! That’s my whole point. There was not one bureaucrat between me and the doctors, or the hospital. Not one bureaucrat! There was nobody assessing whether or not I deserved to be treated based on risk factors, age, weight, whatever it was. There were no guidelines as to: Should a cardiac cath be used here or not?
CALLER: It was decided with your doctors, with no one else, that it was best for you —
RUSH: I know exactly.
CALLER: — to get a heart cath right then.
RUSH: And that’s exactly what happened. And they told me the same thing. Both cardiologists told me that nothing happened to me that wouldn’t have happened to anybody else that came in in the same circumstance. The ambulance arrives, chest pain. They’re doctors! They want to find out what the hell happened.
CALLER: Exactly. Now, you really don’t want me to guess how much it cost, do you?
RUSH: Sure. Take a flier.
CALLER: A cath… Now, you’re paying yourself or are you on Medicaid?
RUSH: Paying myself. No Medicaid. Zilch, zero, nada. Me.
CALLER: All right. If you paid for a cath yourself you may have paid about three grand.
RUSH: All right.
CALLER: For the procedure.
CALLER: Now, if you’re on Medicaid, we get about $75. We have to bill repeatedly, and then the state of Illinois delays our payment six months to a year.
CALLER: And they may not pay us at all, deny the claim for any reason. So it wastes my money. Not my time and money, but it’s a waste for my staff’s time and money to even bill Medicaid.
RUSH: Seventy-five bucks you get reimbursed for a $3,000 procedure?
CALLER: I’m not saying we get reimbursed. I’m saying that’s what they say they’ll reimburse us. Most times they don’t. Medicare you get under a thousand. Now, to stay overnight in the ER there, that’s probably another three grand. Then you stayed an extra day. You probably got out of there for about ten grand.
RUSH: Mmmmm, a little bit more than that but not much.
RUSH: There were a lot of other tests.
CALLER: Now, let’s just say in the situation similar for me. Let’s say that you didn’t get done the next day. Well, you’re going to tell your friends, ‘Hey they jerked me around! They didn’t take care of me,’ and your friend will go down the street to the other hospital.
CALLER: Let’s say there’s only one hospital in one program and one cost and one price. Well, I guarantee you you’re going to wait. In fact I hope that some friends of ours from Canada or Britain call in, or some friends — and I hate to say it because my son is at the Naval Academy but I hope some friends — that deal with the VA call in.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, the horror stories are all over the place, I know. And the Queen’s Medical Center does compete. There’s another hospital in Honolulu, and I was taken to Queen’s, but no, every point you’re making is valid, no question about that. Fred in Kalamazoo, Michigan, you’re next on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, how you doing?
RUSH: How you doing, sir?
CALLER: Believe it or not I’m a lifelong listener, first time in a long time calling.
CALLER: I am a Democrat and I’ll just tell you right off the bat: From Dr. Martin Luther King, when somebody said they’re glad that he didn’t sneeze? I’m glad that you came through your procedure as a Democrat.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much.
CALLER: Okay. Because I understand it. I disagree with you on the health care issue. I guess roughly, with procedures, it ran about $40,000. I might be a little bit off. But for a average working individual, even with a payment plan and a thing that would set ’em up where you can be able to pay your way out of it — along with a mortgage and a car note or anything else you have to have to sustain the American lifestyle — this is why Democrats and people who are… I’m semi-conservative. But it’s why people who are truly liberal are pushing for national health care, and not only that, because of the fact that other countries are subsidizing their health care anyway, which puts us —
CALLER: — in a commerce situation, at a disadvantage.
RUSH: Let me tackle first, in order, the things that you’ve said here. You said that the treatment I got would bankrupt you and you guessed that the treatment cost $40,000.
CALLER: Right. That’s correct.
RUSH: Okay. It did not cost anywhere near $40,000.
RUSH: It cost less. It didn’t even cost half what the average SUV owned by the average American family is.
RUSH: Now, you say that the average workingman couldn’t come up with a payment plan, couldn’t afford this —
RUSH: — because of the American lifestyle. You gotta have your mortgage, you gotta have your car, you gotta have this and that and the other thing.
CALLER: Basically, yes.
RUSH: But wait. Then you say that this is why liberals are for health care, because they’re compassionate. What you’re saying is you want me and other citizens to pay for your health care that you don’t want to have to pay for. Who do you think is going to pay for it if you don’t?
CALLER: But you’re paying for it anyway by the people who are not insured anyway. The premiums that you’re paying or if you had a traditional —
RUSH: No. I don’t pay premiums. I purposely opt out of the health insurance system because of my own proclivities. I just don’t want to be involved in a bureaucracy. I have no desire to have a government bureaucrat in the state or an insurance company bureaucrat deciding or getting in the away between I and my doctor. I know I’m very lucky in this but it’s something I’ve worked for.
CALLER: Yeah, but there’s only probably 10% —
RUSH: It used to be that way for everybody in this country, Fred.
CALLER: But the system —
RUSH: It used to be until liberals got involved in this.
CALLER: But the system doesn’t work, Rush.
RUSH: When I was a kid I went to the doctor and they sent a bill. The hospital sent a bill. Medicare, Medicaid come into play, the government creating HMOs (thank you, Ted Kennedy) and prices start to skyrocket. There’s no reason this had to happen, and there’s no reason we can’t go back to the way it was. We do in every other aspect of life. But see you just made my point. And I’m not criticizing you because I understand I couldn’t do it. You’re a liberal. You think you’ve got a bigger heart than everybody else and you’re very compassionate and there’s something about health care that everybody is entitled to. We’re not all entitled to cars. We’re not all entitled to houses on a beach. But we are all entitled to health care. Somebody has to pay for it, and if you’re thinking that the average workingman can’t afford this, that somebody else is going to have to pay for it, I think you’re just abrogating responsibility and disguising it with compassion. I know this is a tough sell, folks. I mean, Psst! Many of you in this audience get it but I know what I’m up against here: 50 years of ingrained political drumbeat that there is some moral requirement or entitlement to health care. Just for myself, in helping to explain, I do not look at it that way. Forgive me for looking at things this way, but I actually think I have to pay for what I get. I do. I was raised that way. I know this is insensitive to say. I know it’s insensitive to make this point, because not everybody can pay for what they want and have and so forth. But I do. I know that makes me an oddball, the notion that I should pay for what I get. I’ve just accepted that responsibility, even with the exorbitant prices of not just health care, but a whole bunch of other stuff out there that’s ridiculously priced as well.
RUSH: And here’s something else to think about, and this is something that the guy from Kalamazoo did bring up. How much less would my hospital bill have been if the people on Medicaid and Medicare were actually paying their way? My costs were what they are because people like me are subsidizing, and a lot of you, too, the Medicare-Medicaid system, people who aren’t paying for their health care and those with no insurance who just don’t pay. That would be the illegal aliens. So it woulda cost even less. Nobody’s talking about doing anything, there’s not one element of any of these plans in the House or Senate that’s going to reduce anybody’s costs, not one.
RUSH: Here’s Linda in Naples, Florida, it’s great that you called. Nice to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. I’m glad you’re back and that you’re well.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Can I just say one quick thing then I’ll get to my point.
CALLER: My daughter’s dog’s name is Toby Rushie so we call him Toby Rushie Hudson Limbaugh.
RUSH: (laughing) Thank you very much.
CALLER: Okay, what I wanted to say was about health care. As bad as Canada and England’s systems are, the people are all treated baldly but equally. We will not be because some groups, you know, people will be exempt due to all these special deals for votes. And that is just unspeakably bad. I mean, are we all going to get different little color cards, ‘Okay, you have to pay but you don’t’?
RUSH: Well, you mean like union people are going to be exempt from certain things like taxes on their Cadillac health care plans, that kind of thing?
CALLER: And the Amish people I heard don’t have to pay, so we’re not equal. It’s not anything that’s even —
RUSH: In fact, if anybody that can claim some sort of a way-out-there religious belief will also get an exemption. Look, even if everybody was going to be treated equally, it’s no reason to support this.
CALLER: I’m not saying that at all.
RUSH: Because everybody is going to be treated equally bad.
CALLER: Yes, I’m not saying it’s a good thing but I’m saying it’s doubly bad because people are exempt.
RUSH: Well, let me tell you another way it’s not going to be equal. The death panels.
RUSH: Let’s not even call them death panels. There are going to be bureaucratic panels in the Senate bill that set up the Health and Human Services secretary, appoints whoever is gonna run the health exchange and these various panels and somebody’s going to write guidelines to suggest who gets treated and who doesn’t based on age, other risks and health factors and so forth, and cost.
RUSH: And, of course, you’re going to have some people not get treated simply because a bureaucrat says, ‘Ah, not a good investment here.’
CALLER: We’ll, we’ll have do not fly lists and do not treat lists.
RUSH: Exactly. (laughing) Exactly. By the way, would you rather have a doctor searching and finding whatever disease you have or the transportation agency, whatever it is, the people that check you at the airports? I mean they can’t find a guy wearing a bomb in his panties. They cannot find terrorists. And the same people that appoint them are going to put other people in charge of finding your cancer.
CALLER: Yes. Exactly. The whole thing is just absolutely incredible, everything that he’s done since he’s been elected is just, every morning you wake up and it’s like ten different things and you’re —
RUSH: Exactly. And the bottom line is they don’t care what’s specifically in this, because getting it is the prize, a monument to Obama. He’s satisfied that there’s enough in this that’s going to give him and his government sufficient and additional control over people’s lives. This is not about the health care system improving for anybody. It’s not about any of that. None of that is true. Democrats being compassionate itself is a fraud. Examine the results of their attempts to be compassionate and you tell me that there’s any big-heartedness in it.
RUSH: To Frankfurt, Indiana. Gary, it’s nice to have you on the program, sir. Thank you for waiting.
CALLER: Yes. Thank you, Rush. It’s nice to know that you’re doing well and a privilege to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: I just wanted to add my own story to kind of agree with you concerning the fact that the medical care that you received while going through the emergency would have been the same that anybody else would have received. Back in August of 2009 I had a major stroke and my wife, upon discovering it, got the ambulance there. And the hospital that I went to locally, they flew my by helicopter down to Indianapolis. And waiting there was one of only, like, six neurosurgeons in the country that could perform the surgery that I needed.
RUSH: Did you know any of these doctors?
CALLER: No. I didn’t know any of them.
RUSH: They never heard of you?
CALLER: No, never heard of me.
RUSH: All they knew was you’re coming in on a MedEvac?
CALLER: Yeah, correct.
RUSH: And you had a stroke.
CALLER: So I go through the emergency room, but, as I said, one of six neurosurgeons in the country capable of doing the procedure was there. They performed it. I did not have insurance at the time, but there was no paperwork, no lines. I didn’t have to fill out anything. I was unconscious. They just took me in, did the surgery, and I’m doing quite well. I just basically experienced the same thing. The point I wanted to make was that I didn’t have insurance but I was still taken care of and received the same treatment as someone who would have had proper insurance.
RUSH: How are you paying for this?
CALLER: Well, it is expensive but the hospital or other places who did testing, you know, are in contact with me saying there are financial forms and so forth I can submit and so forth and that they will consider discounts, write-offs to charities, and so forth. Some of the people, debt experts I’ve spoken to concerning the matter, said that hospitals normally are more than willing to take way less even than half, in a lot of cases because Medicare or Medicaid wouldn’t pay them even close to the full bill anyway. So they’re willing to receive, if I’d come up with the cash, far less than what the bill was, as far as a total bill.
RUSH: All right. Now, you didn’t know these doctors. They didn’t know you. You are from Frankfurt, Indiana. You end up going to Indianapolis, to one of six neurosurgeons. They fixed you up. They dealt with it as the emergency it was, and now you’ve got a payment plan worked out. Whatever it is, you’re working with them to pay it off?
RUSH: Exactly. Now, are you a celebrity? Does anybody know who you are?
CALLER: (chuckles) No. No celebrity at all. No.
RUSH: Well, I’m glad you called. See, this is the point. So many people have got the wrong idea about this health care. This is why what I said in Hawaii really ticked off the Democrats. It really ticked off the media. You know, I was feeling grateful. I was thankful that this happened to me in America. I got great coverage at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu and I said there’s nothing wrong with the US health care system, and there’s not. I have never encountered a problem with it. Forget the money. I’m not even talking about money. I’m talking about treatment. We all have stories that we have with doctors that might misdiagnose here and there. Nothing is perfect. But I think that there are so many myths. All of liberalism is a lie, and they have told so many lies about the health care system — so many lies about the rich, so many lies about capitalism — that they’ve got people believing that something that’s the best in the world isn’t and needs ‘reform’ and needs to be fixed.
I have little patience for people who run down this country, especially the institutions and traditions that have made it great. That’s what the Democrat Party is all about. So, Gary, I’m glad you called. Speaking of his Medicare problem, he said that hospital was glad to take a reduced amount because if it was Medicare, they might not get paid at all or for six months. Do you remember Obama went out there and said (summarized), ‘The Mayo Clinic, that’s the greatest example of what my health care is going to be: The nonprofit Mayo Clinic!’ He really touted the Mayo Clinic. He said, ‘They’re on board with my health care plan.’ Remember that? He suggested this last summer. The Mayo Clinic is the model for government medical care, but on Monday the Mayo Clinic in Arizona stopped taking Medicare patients! How is that? What happens? If the ‘nonprofit’ Mayo Clinic is, quote, unquote, ‘what works,’ as the president believes, then it’s clear that government health care doesn’t.
If Washington cannot manage a system with fewer than 50 million participants well enough for those who paid for it to get care, then it sure as hell can’t run a program that will eventually include every person in the country. The Mayo Clinic said, ‘Ah, we can’t deal with this,’ because they’re not being paid. We all know what the problems are. They’re not being paid, and whatever they’re being paid or reimbursed is not happening in anywhere near a timely manner.