RUSH: Kathryn in Colleyville, Texas. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hello, Rush. It’s great to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you very much.
CALLER: I was calling about Medicare and the slow erosion of freedom within the doctor community. Basically over the past two or three months, cardiology has been taken incredible pay cuts, which are impacting the practice of medicine.
RUSH: Medicare and Medicaid particularly, you mean, right?
CALLER: Medicare, yes.
CALLER: Specifically, a couple of months ago the imaging that is performed in cardiologists’ office took a 40% pay cut, and that was followed up this past Monday with a 20% pay cut to all physicians. It’s really affecting how patients are getting taken care of. We had to lay off some employees, and it’s really touch and go whether we’ll be able to continue to see Medicare patients.
RUSH: I was just going to say: Your only hope is to get out of the program.
CALLER: Well, there is an out, which a lot of cardiologists — about, probably, 30% — have already accepted. Hospitals are buying out cardiology practices, only to become employees of hospitals.
RUSH: Yeah. I know.
CALLER: Huh. And that’s (garbled).
RUSH: But once you opt out of Medicare you can’t take a Medicare patient ever again, right?
CALLER: I’m not sure all the rules. I’m probably out of my territory there, but there are specific rules for not taking care of Medicare patients. But the problem is that once you’re an employee of a hospital you’ve lost your freedom, and some practices that have been bought out have already been told by the hospitals that, ‘Oh, well, we’re going to have to cut your pay 15%, and you have no recourse.’
RUSH: All right. I want to try to put what you’ve said here into an understandable context for the audience.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush.
RUSH: No, no, no. Stay on the line here because I need you to tell me if I’m right or wrong on this.
RUSH: The odds are I’m right (I’m very seldom wrong) but I still want you there to correct me. Now, the very people who just yesterday in a big dog and pony show said, ‘We’re going to expand coverage, we’re going to insure 31 million more people, we’re going to lower costs,’ the same people are reducing what they are paying you and your husband, cardiologists, to the point that you cannot keep your practices going?
CALLER: That’s basically it. It’s a huge part of this. Probably 50% of local cardiology business is Medicare.
RUSH: Well, of course it is.
CALLER: It’s a very successful business. Let me tell you that over the past ten years… You know, heart disease was the number one killer ten years ago. But do you know that in the last ten years the mortality has dropped 30% because of cardiology care?
RUSH: Yeah. Oh, I’m not surprised. Despite all these horrors like childhood obesity, the life expectancy just continues to edge upward in this country.
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: But my point with you, Kathryn, is that the very people who claim they know how to fix this are breaking what we have now.
CALLER: Exactly. What we have now is already so broken that basically insurance companies and government have doctor groups fighting among ourselves for what’s left of our 8% of the Medicare dollar. About 8% of what goes through Medicare actually makes it to doctors. Everything else is wasted.
RUSH: Thank you, Kathryn. I want to make another point about this, ladies and gentlemen. I want to go back to my old buddy Howard Fineman and his piece earlier this week in Newsweek in which he wondered, ‘Where’s all the money going?’ Where’s all the money going if they’re cutting the doctors? Well, the money isn’t there. We don’t have it. We have a $1.5 trillion deficit. The money is owed. The money is going to debt. But this is the real point. You listen to this doctor. I could do this all three hours any day I wanted. I could take calls from doctor after doctor after doctor who would tell the same story: Medicare payments, copayments are being cut back to the point that they can’t continue to keep the office open on what the government is paying them.
You have cardiology patients, heart patients, going in to get treated, and some far-off bureaucrat somewhere… Not an insurance company. We’re talking Medicare here, not some evil insurance company. Some federal bureaucrat is deciding what the cardiologist is going to get paid. That’s not a free market. There’s no relationship to Kathryn’s patients and the price of Kathryn’s service. The patient isn’t paying diddly-squat, or very little on Medicare and even less on Medicaid if we lump that in. We’ll leave Medicaid out of it for now. There’s absolutely no relationship. These people walk in with a heart problem. The service and the fee attached to it by Kathryn and her husband the cardiologists is not based on that woman’s ability to pay or the patient’s ability to pay or the patient’s level of care that’s needed, treatment, what have you.
Some bureaucrat that nobody knows, sitting far away in some dank federal office, is using a computer with printouts and models — formulas and so forth — to determine what the doctor rendering the service is going to be paid. This is price fixing. This is government control. We already have this. This is why it’s messed up. Now, we can get lost in the details here of the doctor’s only getting reimbursed this or they’re having their payments bundled here or what have you. That’s not the point. The problem is, imagine if you had to check into a hotel this way and the room is 400 bucks a night, and some federal bureaucrat says, ‘We’re only going to pay the hotel a hundred bucks for this,’ and the hotel has to give you the room! It can’t be sustained.
RUSH: Steve in Rockford, Illinois, you’re next. It’s great to have you here, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Thanks for taking my call.
RUSH: You bet.
CALLER: I was wondering why nobody is even bringing up — it just seems like the logical progression to this thing if Obama is doing this all on purpose — that the first ones that are going to be sucked into this government option are all the government unions.
RUSH: Wait, what? The reason Obama is doing what is for government unions…? Say that again.
CALLER: If he’s could go this all on purpose, you know, to —
RUSH: Okay. Doing what on purpose? Doing what on purpose?
CALLER: Ramming the health care through and basically destroying the economy. The first ones are going to get sucked into his government-option health care plan are going to be the government unions. All teachers, all workers of state universities, everybody who works for the government — and the government unions, they’ll be the first ones sucked into the government option.
RUSH: Uhhhh. Yeah, but everybody’s going to get sucked into the government option.
RUSH: I mean, in ten years there’s not going to be any other option but the government.
CALLER: Right. But their base, they gotta have a base to operate from first, and the first ones they’re going to take in will be the government employees —
RUSH: Wait, now.
CALLER: — so the state governments can save money.
RUSH: State governments, state governments can off-load…? Well, look, there are a lot of reasons why Obama wants this. It’s no accident that he wore a purple tie yesterday. Purple is the official color of the SEIU. It’s like Clinton. Have we forgotten? Clinton used to signal Monica Lewinsky, ‘Today is a good day,’ by wearing a certain color tie. Remember that? This is Andy Stern, union driven. Folks, the union heads and the leaders of these unions, essentially, are communists. They don’t like this country. I’m talking about government union people. I’m not talking about the UAW and Teamsters, although they might be. I’m talking about unions that exist in the federal government. These are Obama’s buddies, but the overall reason (we’ve discussed this) that Obama wants this, is expansive government that he controls, limiting the freedom of Americans. I’m getting blue in the face here saying all this over and over and over. Put quite simply, Barack Obama does not like this country as it was founded and he wants to transform it, and he has said so. But this has to be stopped because if he gets this, then he’s got 90% of his objective done. Because everything about human behavior can be regulated because it has relationship to health care costs, which they — Obama — are going to have total control over.
RUSH: And we’re back. It’s El Rushbo, talent on loan from God-d.
Look, the bottom line on the SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, they represent more than 900,000 caregivers and hospital employees, including about a 110,000 nurses and 40,000 doctors in public, private, and nonprofit medical institutions. What Andy Stern wants, the head of the SEIU, is to unionize doctors. He wants their dues. He wants to have a union control the whole health care industry here, and they’re just now getting started. Obama is his blood brother. The energy behind this is more than just focused in Obama. It is concentrated in all of these unions, and they are the largest union of health care workers in the country, and they’re just getting started. That’s also at play here, too.
RUSH: Susie in Jacksonville, Florida, nice to have you on the program. Hello.
CALLER: Hello there. There is another sinister side to this Medicare problem, Rush, I believe. When Obama said he was going to fundamentally change America, I think that might include less health care for Medicare recipients, because if you’re older and you have less care, you die. So once a certain number of people are gone out of the system, it lightens up the load on Medicare, it lightens up on Social Security, and —
RUSH: Let me ask you a question, Susie.
RUSH: Seriously. When did you arrive at this conclusion?
CALLER: Oh, it’s been awhile. It’s been awhile dawning on me, but —
RUSH: I want to know exactly when. There’s no wrong answer here. I’m just genuinely curious. At what point and how did you arrive at this conclusion?
CALLER: Well, you just see that tightening up on the doctors, putting them in the strain to treat Medicare and —
CALLER: — older health patients like the cardiologist —
RUSH: Oh, I understand, but when did you figure out —
CALLER: Way back a long time ago.
RUSH: No, no, no, no. Let me finish.
CALLER: I can’t give you an exact date.
RUSH: Well, two months ago, six years ago, when did you figure out that if the government controls Medicare, they could determine whether or not you live or die by denying or giving you care? When did that realization hit you?
CALLER: When I first heard about this plan, probably, right in there somewhere.
RUSH: Well, I gotta tell you something. You are brilliant.
CALLER: Oh, my.
RUSH: Because that’s exactly — forget the reasons why, culling the herd, or what have you, the whole point of getting control of health care is to regulate everybody’s life, and look at how they decide now whether somebody should get treated or not: age, how sick are you, how much it’s going to cost to invest in your recovery, are you going to recover. And when the government is in charge of making those decisions and not you and your doctor —
CALLER: That’s right.
RUSH: — guess what, we don’t have any money.
RUSH: We’re broke.
CALLER: Didn’t he also, now, I’m not sure about this man’s name, but wasn’t it Sunstein back there, one of the czars early on said that the world would be better off if we had a third less people?
RUSH: Well —
CALLER: I’m not sure about that —
RUSH: — you’re talking about Cass Sunstein. He’s a constitutional bomb detonator.
RUSH: There are a lot of Democrats that have said things like that, Paul Ehrlich in The Population Bomb back in 1976. That’s part of the global warming argument, it’s part of the health care argument, it’s part of every — look, as far as the left is concerned, the only corrupting influence in the universe is human beings, Republican and conservative human beings are the only corrupting influence. Everything else is pristine, clean and pure as the wind driven snow.
Bill in Houston, you’re next on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Hi, Rush, an honor to talk to you.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: Got a question for you. I tried to get through to you all day yesterday and actually since the health care summit last Thursday, what you said when you first came on today, I was trying to get through to you to let you know that yesterday, because I couldn’t find any new bill. And if there is no new bill —
CALLER: — and you say is right, and I believe 200% that you are right, that’s what they’re trying to do, why isn’t Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, all the Republicans, why aren’t they telling people this? Why aren’t they telling them that there is no bill, that if the House passes this, it’s done?
RUSH: Well, because there’s still the possibility that there will be what Obama wants in a reconciled bill. Now, they could go out and say there isn’t one now but Boehner just said he expects the Senate bill to arrive on the House floor within days and for the House to begin debating it, and essentially vote on it or not vote on it. All this means is they don’t have the votes for this yet but they can’t go out and say there is no Obama plan, he’s lying because what Obama said could end up in there. It’s a technical point. I could retire and I could have three times the wealth I have if I could just get a dollar for every time I’ve been asked, ‘Why don’t the Republicans do X?’