RUSH: Scott in Tulsa. I’m glad you called, sir. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. How are you?
RUSH: Fine and dandy, sir.
CALLER: I appreciate you putting me on the air. Uhhh, minor dittos from Oklahoma.
RUSH: Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Listen, I’m calling to complain about the net effect of your take, your narrative on this health reform bill and really it culminated in picking up a newspaper here and they pulled the provision for end-of-life counseling out of the legislation.
CALLER: My read on that — my attempt to kind of see beneath all the hype, the hype on both sides of it — what I learned about it was that’s a great deal. That’s a great program. Counseling for seniors, if somebody gets a terminal, you know, prognosis from their doctor. Medicare doesn’t cover going sitting down and talking with the doctor about, you know, what to do next, what’s going to…? How is this thing going to play out? Right now if you’re on Medicare, you’ve got to pay that out of your pocket. The effects of you repeat — and a host of other people repeating Betsy McCaggie’s (sic) line that what this amounts to is a panel of bureaucrats who will try to deny coverage, usher you into the chutes of euthanasia and, you know, send you off the edge, all of that is false.
RUSH: Except one thing. You mean Betsy McCaughey, and I have not said that. I have not —
CALLER: You have not repeated Betty McCaughey?
RUSH: I have not used the word ‘death panels’ except quoting Sarah Palin. I have talked about the reality of what’s going to happen. Here’s what I have said. In the first place, before I get to that, I do want to object. I don’t think the government has any business telling doctors that they’re going to sit and talk to people about end-of-life. I don’t think that’s the government’s job. It’s none of Obama’s business or any bureaucrat that he would select.
CALLER: Could I…? Could I interrupt you again right there and say we’re talking about the provision where the government didn’t force doctors or tell doctors. The provision clearly stated — and I read it myself —
RUSH: Then why did they pull it out?
CALLER: — that it covered the conversation.
RUSH: Why did they pull it out if it’s so damn good? They pulled it out because it is what people think it is.
CALLER: Well, why do you think, Rush? Why do you think?
RUSH: Why do I think what?
CALLER: Because you can’t turn on a news program and not hear the words ‘death panel’?
RUSH: Why do I think what?
CALLER: Why do you think they took the provision out? Why do you think they took it out?
RUSH: Because it was something the American people understood and tonight want! It’s very simple why they took it out. Look, if I’m doing a town hall meeting and I got this provision in there, and I got this whole plan — now, listen to me, Scott. If I think this plan is great, if I think it’s the greatest thing under the sun and my constituents don’t understand it, I want every town hall meeting I can get. And I’ll spend six hours with them. And I’ll tell ’em how good it is. I’ll tell ’em how they’re wrong, because if I really think it’s good for them I’m going to tell them. But they don’t know. This is not good for people. That’s why they pulled it out. They tried to sneak it in. Here’s the practical result. Forget the term ‘death panel.’
That was just a clever turn of phrase by Sarah Palin that really focused Obama and focused a lot of people. But the way it works is this. It’s very simple. This is what I’ve said, by the way. We don’t spend money on the healthy. We spend money on the sick. You can listen to everybody in government talking about health care, and the one thing they have in common is they all say, ‘We’re spending too much money, and we can’t keep this up. We’ve gotta find a way to cut costs. We have to do it.’ Okay. Put those two things together: We don’t spend any money on the healthy and we gotta cut costs, that means what? We gotta cut costs on the sick! So some people who are sick are not going to get covered. They’re not going to get treated. It’s simple mathematics and common sense.
Then if you have these end-of-life counseling sessions that you like, that you think are good because Medicare is going to pay for it, if we have these, then I guarantee you the only reason to put that in there is because the government is going to have to decide — individual case by individual case — who’s going to get treated and who isn’t, and the counseling is to deal with that. Obama himself has said (paraphrased), ‘No, I don’t think a hundred-year-old woman should get a pacemaker. She should get a pain pill.’ We know what that means, loop ’em out and let ’em live the rest of their lives in a stupor rather than be treated. This is what it is. Besides that, why is it such a wonderful thing that Medicare would pay for this?
What the hell ever happened to people paying for their own stuff? Whatever happened to that concept? If you want to go talk to a doctor about the end-of-life, if you want to get a counselor, then do it! It’s not like you’re going in for a $55,000 operation on anything. But you can do it with your family. You can get your own living will. But you certainly do not want the federal government involved in who lives and dies. And they’re going to be. It’s not even a matter of death panels. It’s just a matter of common sense the way this plan’s gonna work. And they pulled it out of there in the Senate because the people have figured it out. But don’t worry, Scott. The House is leaving it in and it’s going to be a big fight when they go to conference if they ever get there.
RUSH: I want to go back on this $8,000-per-person health care versus $6,000 or whatever number they pull out of their hats and say we’re spending on health care. That is a rhetorical trick that is to blur this whole thing. Because they are trying to make the case that they can provide this ‘for free.’ If they can convince a number of people that, quote, unquote, ‘The government is going to pay for it therefore it’s going to be free,’ then they stand a better chance of getting this passed. But that’s what people are beginning to understand. In addition to it not being free, there’s all kinds of hideous stuff in it. But the idea that you pay nothing for it, that a couple millionaires are going to get their tacks increased and that your beloved government is going to cover it all, how are they going to do that? They’re going to reduce spending to $4,000 a year per person?
If so, who suffers? The bottom line is: We only spend money on the sick. We don’t spend it on the healthy. If we’re going to cut spending, we gotta cut spending on the sick. And I’ve got section 1233 here. We had the call from the guy in Tulsa who said you’re misrepresenting and maligning the death panel business. Section 1233, House bill, ‘Advanced Care Planning,’ excerpts, pages 424 to 430. I’ve got some of this stuff highlighted. Here’s section 4E, an explanation… Well, it’s not section 4E. It’s line four: ‘An explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end-of-life services and supports available, including palliative care and hospice, and benefits for such services and supports that are available under this title. A program for orders for life sustaining treatment for estates described in this clause is a program that ensures such orders are…’
It goes on and on. When you go through this, it sure sounds like a government panel is going to be deciding a lot of stuff — and it will! There’s no way around this. But here’s the insidious part of this. The most insidious part of this and any government plan — any government plan — is the vast medical expenditures in this nation become nothing more than a government budget item, and this is what concerns me the most, society-wise. It will forever transform the relationship between Americans. I mean, we’re no longer individual citizens. We’re no longer consumers. We will instantly become rivals. We’re going to become competitors vying against each other for precious health care dollars. You’re going to look at other people in your country — your neighborhood, your state — as rivals, as potential enemies, in the competition for government health care dollars.
This is often going to happen in life-or-death situations. The old American ‘live and let live’ attitude will be instantly impossible. Social cohesiveness in civil society is going to be terrifically wounded. In the end every American is going to resent or is going to want to beat out every other American in the race for medicine and it’s all going to be, ‘It’s me or him,’ when you’re becoming nothing more than a budget item. And that’s all we’ll be once the government takes over this if they ever do and if you paid attention to congressmen when they talk about budget items — if you’ve ever watched C-SPAN or listen to a markup on a bill — the way they start talking about budget items is entirely impersonal. I don’t want to be a budget item, and I don’t think any of the rest of you do, either. Back to the audio sound bites. Our old buddy David Brooks was back at it again. On Friday night, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Jim Lehrer said to David Brooks of the New York Times, ‘He said this about President Obama and you.’ That’s what Lehrer said and this is Brooks’ reply.
BROOKS: He [Obama] just tells a lot of whoppers now. Now, believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are saying some things that are extremely off-the-charts untrue about the plan. But I just wrote down some of the things Obama said today which are whoppers. He said ‘everyone can keep their health care plan.’ Well, this bill doesn’t say that. Six million people are going to lose their plan. ‘Preventive care saves money.’ That’s not true. ‘It’s going to cost 90 billion a year.’ That’s not true. It’s probably going to cost twice as much when it’s fully implemented. ‘Government will be out of health care decisions.’ Often when I look at him, I think he’s overpromising. Not as much as the other side but to a significant degree.
RUSH: Now, Brooks when he starts the comment and says, ‘He’s telling a lot of whoppers now,’ he’s talking about Obama. But then he has to throw in this, ‘ Now, believe me, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin are saying some things that are extremely off-the-charts untrue about the plan. But I just wrote down some of the things Obama said today which are whoppers.’ You know, I don’t tell lies on this program. It is not necessary. I don’t have to lie about my beliefs. I don’t have to lie about what liberals want to do. I don’t have to lie about what liberals say. I don’t have to make it up! I do not make up one thing. I do not lie. I don’t even exaggerate other than for the purposes of humor and satire. I have not said one lie about what Obama’s plan is. All we’ve done, as you well know, is try to get the word out about it.
David Brooks is a lying machine! For crying out loud, look at how this guy was seduced by Obama and is only now starting to come around — and the gratuitous slap at Sarah Palin. And here comes another one. This was Friday night on the Situation Room on CNN. Wolf Blitzer was talking to The Forehead, Paul Begala. He says, ‘I know you’ll disagree on this, because I want to move on, but don’t have a lot of time. Newt Gingrich, former House speaker, giving advice to Sarah Palin what to do in the coming months: Write a book, become a regular commentator on TV, create a national project or center; work really, really hard. Good advice for Sarah Palin from Newt Gingrich? Give us the back story,’ Forehead.
BEGALA: He’s trying to treat her like she’s a serious person. She’s not. She’s about half a whack job and does not have the intellectual heft of a Newt Gingrich or almost anybody else in the Republican Party, and I think she’s proved that. I admire Newt Gingrich for pretending that she’s a serious person, but Sarah Palin has proven herself to be an intellectual lightweight.
RUSH: All right. There’s a piece in the Wall Street Journal. Actually, it’s The Best of the Web today, James Taranto, and it is from August the 14th. This is the 17th. This is Friday. ‘If she’s dim and Obama is brilliant, how did he lose the argument to her? — The first we heard about Sarah Palin’s ‘death panels’ comment was in a conversation last Friday with an acquaintance who was appalled by it. Our interlocutor is not a Democratic partisan but a high-minded centrist who deplores extremist rhetoric whatever the source. We don’t even know if he has a position on ObamaCare. From his description, it sounded to us as though Palin really had gone too far. A week later, it is clear that she has won the debate. President Obama himself took the comments of [Sarah Palin] seriously enough to answer them directly in his so-called town-hall meeting Tuesday in Portsmouth, NH.
‘As we noted Wednesday, he was callous rather than reassuring, speaking glibly — to audience laughter — about ‘pulling the plug on grandma.’ The Los Angeles Times reports that Palin has won a legislative victory as well: ‘A Senate panel has decided to scrap the part of its healthcare bill that in recent days has given rise to fears of government ‘death panels,’ with one lawmaker suggesting the proposal was just too confusing. The Senate Finance Committee is taking the idea of advance care planning consultations with doctors off the table …’ The Palin claim about ‘death panels’ was so widely discredited that the White House has begun openly quoting it in an effort to show that opponents of the healthcare overhaul are misinformed.’ You have to love that last bit,’ says Mr. Taranto.
‘The fearless, independent journalists of the Los Angeles Times justify their assertion that the Palin claim was ‘widely discredited’ with an appeal to authority — the authority of the White House, which is to say, the other side in the debate. … One can hardly deny that Palin’s reference to ‘death panels’ was inflammatory. But another way of putting that is that it was vivid and attention-getting,’ and it was! She won the debate! They’ve pulled it. They think she’s an idiot? Actually they don’t think. The bottom line is they don’t think Sarah Palin is an idiot. They’re scared to death of her. She’s the only candidate that fired up the Republican base at all in the 2008 presidential election, and so they’re doing everything they can to discredit her and ruin her. I find it fascinating. The left will tell us who they fear the most. They will tell us who on our side they consider the greatest threat. Sarah Palin, electorally, is who they fear the most — and, of course, they have been afraid of me for 21 years, and that will not stop.
RUSH: Here’s Craig in Orlando, Florida. It’s a doctor. Craig, I’m glad you called. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: How are you today, Rush?
RUSH: I’m just fine. Thank you, sir.
CALLER: Just a quick comment. I heard a caller earlier that called in to say that physicians are not compensated for discussing end-of-life issues, and that’s simply not true. I’m a heart failure specialist. I implant defibrillators and that’s a part of my conversation with each device and with each meeting. It’s part of our job. It’s what we do.
RUSH: So basically if you’re going to do any kind of an operation involving the heart with a patient you have to tell them what could happen?
CALLER: Could happen and alternatives. Defibrillators prevent a sudden cardiac death in most individuals. Well, the alternative to having a prophylactic defibrillator is to accept your time on God’s earth when it comes to and end.
RUSH: Right. And how much do you charge for this?
CALLER: Whatever Medicare wants to honor me with.
RUSH: (laughing) Whatever Medicare wants to honor you with?
CALLER: Yeah, well.
RUSH: So your point is what.
CALLER: My point is there’s a lie out there that we have to have something new federally to compensate us to have these magical conversations when it’s a part of routine clinical practice as it is. I don’t understand why something new has to be created. To make us, or to regulate it? I mean, we do it already.
RUSH: It’s really simple. Well, what do you think? I mean, to me this answer is very simple.
CALLER: I think it’s control.
RUSH: Government control. They’re already got the foot in the door, and you just said, whatever Medicare honors you with is what you get paid for these so-called counseling sessions.
CALLER: (unintelligible) clinical visit.
RUSH: Okay, yeah, but it’s not that expensive.
RUSH: It’s not as expensive as a procedure.
CALLER: No. But I don’t understand why it has to be itemized, unless there’s something else that they want to do with it.
RUSH: Well, that answers itself. It answers itself. It has to be itemized because they’re going to be in on the decision, pure and simple. That’s what Obama wants. Look, my friends, Rahm Emanuel has said that the most important thing in all of this — not the death panels, all the other rigmarole that’s in it — Rahm Emanuel has said that the most important aspect here is for the White House, the executive branch, to take control over Medicare payments and Medicaid. In other words, the House of Representatives right now decides via law and legislation who gets what, how much they get. The White House wants total control of this. That’s the area where the negotiation with the Blue Dog Democrats, there’s still not solved yet, and that’s the sticking point for a lot of them. The House doesn’t want to give it up. Pelosi doesn’t care but some of the Blue Dogs do. Rahm Emanuel wants the White House, i.e., Obama and whatever medical panel he appoints to have that decision process. So if you know that — and Emanuel has said it over and over — if you know that, these are going to be end-of-life counseling sessions. I mean, they can say they’re not going to pull the plug on grandma and all, but they are.
The dirty little secret is that people make the decision to pull the plug now, but they do it themselves. I’ve told the story about my maternal grandmother had a stroke. It was her second one and she’s in a local hospital in Missouri pretty much in a vegetative state and the doctor talked to my mom and said here’s the reality of the situation, but the decision is yours. My mother talked to me and wanted my thoughts. I said, ‘Well, I don’t know how you’re gonna make the decision to kill your mother, but if that’s what you think you have to do.’ She’s in vegetative state, the doctor said that there was no chance of improvement. I know they needed the bed for another patient. It’s the reality of the situation. But regardless, the conversation took place in private with the doctor and the family. There was no Barack Obama or government acing the family out of the decision which is what they want to do.
Quick time-out here, folks. We’ll be back and continue after this.
RUSH: John in Cape Coral, Florida. Great to have you on the EIB Network, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Oh, thanks for taking the call, Rush. I’m just livid about this. I’m going to really trying to be brief. I have an 85-year-old mother-in-law that retired from the state of Illinois university system. She was employed there. She has always carried the State of Illinois health insurance program. It’s administrated by a private company, CIGNA insurance. Now, she’s had some real bad problems. Heart attack, stroke. She can’t care for herself. We have her in a house now. We’re caring for her, for last six years. My wife takes care of the bills now.
RUSH: You know, I didn’t look at the clock when I took your call. I’m down to about 30 seconds. How did the government fail?
CALLER: Bottom line is on the bills now. They weren’t paying the bills. Now it says the State of Illinois health insurance program is out of funds and anything over Medicare payments, she has to pay.
RUSH: Even though she was insured. Even though she had the insurance and she thought she had coverage, they still decided to stop paying. They ran out of money — and, by the way, we are out of money now. The federal government is in deficit big time.