RUSH: David in Austin, Texas. Hello, sir, welcome to the Rush Limbaugh program.
CALLER: Well, mega dittos, Rush. Mega 15-year dittos.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Rush, I think we need to inject a little common sense into this whole health care debate. You know, I’ve been reading Reagan lately and just been brought to my senses again. Sure health care costs are rising. Why are they rising? I mean, 50 years ago, 60 years ago morphine was the answer to cancer. Now we’ve got chemo and we’ve got teams of doctors and none of us want to go back. The costs are going to go up, but what we need to do is we need to defeat this monster of a health bill by using a little commonsense alternative and bring us back to some individual freedom and responsibility. What Reagan would do, I think, would give us some hope. I mean, in the past we’ve been able to spread health care costs between people if you were 20 years old or 90 years old, because there wasn’t a huge disparity in health care costs. Well, now since there’s so much difference between the end-of-life and the beginning-of-life health care costs we have some issues. And I think we need to go back to more age-and-stage risk pools. The thing at issue here is that people won’t mind if they spread the risk among peers. But what drives us all crazy is that we have to spread the risk among those that are not peers, those that are in much different circumstances than we are. If we were in a small town and we all decided that we’ll share the load of the electricity burden among all the small houses and shop owners in town, everybody would be okay. But the minute an industrial base moved into town and said, ‘Hey will you pay part of my bill?’ we’d all cry foul. So I think we’ve got an amazing spirit in America, and I would love to see more debate — you and anyone else — that could bring to the table: How do we share risk appropriately with peers and solve some of this health care problem? Nobody wants to go back to morphine as a cancer treatment, so what do we do?
RUSH: Well, the answer to this is simple. The implementation is complicated as hell. The answer is you gotta get the government out of as much of this as possible. The government’s involvement is what skewed prices, and I understand your point about risk pools. Folks, what he’s saying here is that it makes no sense to spread the risk equally in the cost of premiums between people age 30 and people age 70. The person aged 70’s premiums is going to be much, much higher than the person 30; and the person 30 is going to end you be subsidizing the person 70, which is already happening. But I think Obama does want to go back to morphine.
CALLER: Well, I think he does but the trick is, of course, he’s trying to steel freedom as he does it. But fundamentally also at play is that for my health problems or your health problems, if we come to that point to where it’s like I’m spending somebody else’s money for my health problems, I’m always going to choose to do that.
RUSH: Exactly, which is what’s happening all across the board here. In fact, a lot of people don’t think they should be spending any of their own money. Most of Obama’s voters don’t think they should be spending any of it. Let the bankers today pay for it.
CALLER: Absolutely. And of course we run into this huge mentality that we are fighting and need to fight desperately against. It’s against individual freedom, hope, common sense, talking to people in terms they understand and saying, ‘Look, there’s no free lunch. Let’s spread the risk. Let’s do what’s helpful. Let’s help those that are downtrodden, but let’s not try to ride this whole beautiful machine that’s been created called the American experiment all the way into the ground because you’re so greedy.’
RUSH: Well, we’re already doing that. Lawrence Summers back in April may have let the cat out of the bag. He was explaining somewhere in public — he’s director of the National Economic Council — and he was explaining how health care costs are rising faster than any other element of the federal budget, and we gotta do something about it ‘because if we don’t, people aren’t going to be able to find…’ and then he stopped. He corrected himself. But what he meant to say was, what he was going to say was, ‘People aren’t going to be able to find doctors.’ No doctors are going to be in the Medicare system. They’re all gonna opt out because reimbursements cannot even possibly cover the costs, they’re rising so high. And now with $500 billion in Medicare cuts (or half a trillion dollars in Medicare cuts if you want to look at it that way) we’re already running the system into the ground. More and more doctors are opting out because they can’t make a living on Medicare reimbursements. So it’s a debacle. Before we even get to your idea there have to be a whole bunch more reforms ahead of that. Really the focus has to be to return a proper relationship between cost as related to customer and service provider, like there is in every other product or service in the economy.
RUSH: Okay, the e-mails are saying, ‘Rush, what do you mean Obama wants to go back to morphine?’ Folks, remember when he did the ABC town hall and this woman stood up and said (paraphrased), ‘What about my 100-year-old mother? She needs a pacemaker.’ Obama said, ‘Nope. I don’t think we can factor in the will to live. We can’t factor that in. I think situations like that we make ’em comfortable and we give ’em a pill. Morphine. We don’t treat ’em. We don’t have the money to treat somebody 100 years old.’