RUSH: Here’s Rebecca in Canton, Michigan, as we go to the phones on Open Line Friday. Thank you for waiting, Rebecca. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. It is a real honor to speak with you.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: And I have to tell you that the day you finally grace the cover of People magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’ issue will be a good day.
RUSH: (laughing) Such will never happen.
RUSH: I don’t think I’ll ever be in People magazine other than if some scandal comes up.
CALLER: Oh. Well, it will be a great day. I wanted to respectfully take you to task for the response that you gave to Christine on Wednesday.
RUSH: Oh, no.
CALLER: Just very respectfully, huh, because before she —
RUSH: Now I’m beginning to think that everything you said before now just wasn’t true.
CALLER: No, it is very true. But she brought up a very good point. She brought up a very good point that I haven’t heard you or anybody else addressing.
RUSH: I don’t think that’s possible, but I’ll listen.
CALLER: (laughs) It was a short point before she got, you know, petty. But, anyway, the bottom line is that health care in this country is prohibitively expensive, and there are reasons for that, and unless we start talking about the underlying reasons for the problem, we’ll never fix them. And you, Rush, are usually a really great educator on free market economics but I haven’t heard you educating much here on one of the most significant reasons that health care in our country is so expensive.
RUSH: This is surreal. I do it all the time. This is like Christine telling me, when she spoke five words for every one word I spoke, that she couldn’t get a word in. You’re telling me I don’t…? How many times on this show just last week have we talked about the relationship to price when the customer deals directly with the provider of the service or the manufacturer of the product? Without —
CALLER: But at the same time —
RUSH: Health savings accounts. Getting the price down. The whole point of conservative health care reform is oriented precisely around that point, and the only reason the costs are so prohibitively high right now is because most people don’t think they’re paying for it. Insurance is, government is, in Christine’s case she thinks her neighbors ought to pay for it. That is what was so bothersome about her call.
CALLER: Yes. Yes. I agree. But I hear you praising the insurance companies that are in our country right now, and they are contributing to the high cost of the health care because —
CALLER: — it cripples the free market economy.
RUSH: No, no, no.
CALLER: Yes, it does!
RUSH: No, you don’t hear me praising insurance companies, you hear me defending private sector free market capitalism from an attack by a leftist radical president.
CALLER: Oh, that I definitely agree with. I am in no way in favor of the government taking it upon themselves to wipe out one-sixth of our economy.
CALLER: However I do think that we as a people need to stop buying routine medical care and employers need to stop providing health benefits to their employees because all these middlemen have crippled the free market as it applies to health care.
RUSH: No. The middleman that’s screwed this all up is the government, not the insurance companies. The insurance companies can’t sell policies like you just described. Something else I have long advocated. When you gotta go for a checkup, pay for it! When you gotta go get a $20 bottle of blood pressure medicine, pay for it. If you gotta have an insurance policy for that, pay for that, too! But whatever, pay for it and keep the really catastrophic events reserved for major insurance policies, because with an insurance policy you’re just trying to mitigate as much risk as you can. But nobody has the right to good health. Nobody has the right to good health. We live under so many misconceptions in this whole thing. Health care is a ‘right.’ Government or employers should provide it. There would be a revolt if the employers of this country just decided, ‘You know, we’re just not going to go private anymore,’ and that will be the case when Obama gets his public option. They will off-load it and then you’re going to only have one place to go to have any health insurance, and that’s the government — and that’s the plan, and that’s not going to do anything for prices. Rebecca, thanks much for the call, appreciate it.
RUSH: Now, two e-mails. There’s more than two. Two I printed out. ‘Dear Rush: Please don’t be an O’Reilly here. You totally missed Rebecca’s point. It was that HMOs, insurance, have blown the price of coverage out of the park by selling one-size-fits-all policies to employers and having to dramatically increase their bureaucracy to handle the load. This is why folks don’t think she should have to pay anything. I’m 62 years old. I can remember what health care was like before HMOs which we have to have thanks to Mr. Kennedy.’ That’s from Albuquerque. Here’s the next one. ‘Rush: The insurance companies are already doing all the things we are fearful of government-controlled plan doing — controlling payments to providers of what’s covered and what’s not. Many of us want to know what specific steps could be taken to take control away from the insurance companies and return it directly to the patients and providers.’
Very simple! Pay for it yourself! It’s very simple. If you don’t like the insurance company, screw it. Now you’re going to say, ‘But the cost is too high.’ Well, yeah, it is but we’re not going to get the costs down until you start dealing with the doctor directly like you deal with the hotel directly or the automobile dealership directly or whatever else you buy. Insurance companies, folks, are very simple. Insurance companies are actuaries. They calculate the odds of risk, and then they compute the cost of covering that risk if you want to buy insurance from them. That’s what they do. They calculate the ideas of risk, and then they compute the cost of covering the risk. And this is what you’re misunderstanding: The more government forces insurance companies to insure, the more the risk goes up. It’s just simple.
You think the insurance companies are operating free and independent? The government’s telling them what to cover. We’ve had insurance agents call here and be welcome back and I know them. We’ve had people call here and other people have told me that work in the insurance business, they can’t sell the policies they want to sell. The government tells them what they have to insure, either the federal government or state governments. There are so many mandates now in health care that insurance companies have to insure and if they’re going to have to insure hangnails, I’m telling you, everybody is going to get a hangnail. If they’re going to have to insure things that everybody’s gonna get, then by God, folks, it’s going to cost everybody a lot of money! They already pay out 85 to 90% of their claims. The government doesn’t come close to doing this.
So the more government forces insurance companies to insure, the more the risk goes up, ’cause they gotta pay out all these things that normally they wouldn’t and then that’s just going to drive the cost up. You’re looking at the wrong middleman here when you want to get rid of the insurance companies. You gotta wake up on this. And I want you to think about this, too. Now, this is from my program, July 22nd. I’m going to repeat recovered. ‘What Health Insurance Insures — Hey, a quick question, folks. What does health insurance insure? This is not a trick question. If you think health insurance insures your health, you’re wrong. Health insurance does not insure your health. ‘What’s it for? … Health insurance cannot possibly insure your health. In fact, ‘Health care insurance, formerly called ‘medical insurance,’ is merely an instrument of neutralizing risk. Financial risk, that is.’ Not health risks.
”It was brought about by a need to insure a family’s assets against a dread disease requiring care so expensive it would wipe that family out financially. As a strictly financial planning endeavor, the issue never seemed to be discussed in terms of being ‘a right’ or in terms of ‘compassion.’ But ‘medical insurance’ as a component of financial planning has morphed into ‘health care’ as a right for everyone in the new political parlance. And not only is the insurance a right, but the insurance should be ‘free’ and it should cover everything from routine care visits to erectile dysfunction to ADHD to’ addadictomies!’ People want health insurance for addadictomies for crying out loud. If you want an addadictomy, pay for it, friends, do not ask your neighbors to turn you into a guy when you’re a woman. If you want an addadictomy, pay for it. Insurance in San Francisco, they are required to cover things like this.
”It is no more practical to have ‘health insurance’ to pay for prescription drugs and routine doctor visits than it is to expect your auto insurance to pay for your oil changes and tire rotations.’ This is C. Edmund Wright at the AmericanThinker.com,’ who we also covered earlier today. ‘There is so much brilliance out there on health care.’ You know, government growth, the encroachment on liberty is a very slow process. That’s why you don’t see that all the time. It’s only when something massive like this health care business comes up that people say, ‘Whoa! That’s too much.’ This is the famous overreach. Cap and trade is overreach. Health care is overreach. The stimulus was overreach. All of these things Obama is doing is overreach. Now people say, Oh, my God what’s happening?’ But, folks, what they’re doing now they’ve done for the last 50 years.
They’ve just done it incrementally and they’ve done it under the guise of ‘compassion.’ We’re in this health care mess because of 50 years of slow but steady government intrusion and government growth. And if you think the insurance companies are free market players out there deciding what they want to do on their own when it comes to the health coverage you got another think coming. They are told what to do. For crying out loud, the guy got a right, Ted Kennedy created the HMO and now Ted Kennedy before he died was out there running them down. It is people in the government who have the slightest idea how to run any business who are creating all these rules and regulations, and then they create these rules and regulations that gin up hatred in you for the insurance company because you don’t understand the government’s the guilty party here.
And then Obama very craftily starts demonizing the insurance companies, and now I start getting phone calls from people like Christine and Rebecca who have bought it. The more you make an insurance company cover, the more their risk goes up and all they do is monetize their risk. They’re not insuring your health. They can’t. You can’t. What you’re insuring is that you won’t be destroyed financially if you get a dread disease. But you’re not going to be destroyed financially when a standard checkup. You’re not going to be destroyed financially if you break a leg. It’s just people have these wild expectations. The minute the Democrats started talking about health care as a ‘right,’ that was the death knell. Because there is no right to good health. And I’ll tell you something else: Something cannot be a right if the government can take it away from you. And they can take away your health care.
That’s what the Obama plan’s all about is taking away health care from certain people. It’s time to understand here. I’m not defending insurance companies. I’m sure there are charlatans in everything. But you’re blaming the wrong people here when you start talking about the high cost of health care in this country. You get the government out of it, and you watch what happens to prices. You watch how they come down. It couldn’t be done overnight because we didn’t get here overnight. That’s why everybody talks about the beauty of health savings accounts: Letting you have what you’re spending on health care already, in an account, that for the year must be used on health. You can’t spend it on anything else because then you screw it up. But whatever is left over at the end of the year, then you get to keep that.
And next year the same amount that would be taxed to pay for health care, that goes into your account, and you buy your health care coverage, and, guess what? You’re going to go shopping for it and you’re going to try to find the cheapest coverage for the everyday stuff that you need and you’re not going to go to doctor every time you do now, because you think it’s not costing you anything other than your little copay. And you’ll probably start buying your own prescriptions except the really expensive stuff. We’ve gotten to the point now where people call here (whining), ‘I’m working three part-time jobs and a friend of mine makes too much money to qualify for prescriptions!’ Makes too much money to qualify for free prescriptions! Where the hell does she think she lives? She makes too much money to qualify for free prescriptions. She’s mad at somebody for this. Stop and think about it: You make too much money to qualify. That’s like me saying, ‘I make too much money to qualify for a free airplane. Damn it, I gotta buy it myself! This is not fair.’ I don’t want to have to repeat this, folks. I don’t.