State-Run Media Has Cow Over Rush Limbaugh’s Hawaii Hospital Press Conference

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January 6, 2010



RUSH: America’s Truth Detector and the Doctor of Democracy. Yes, ladies and gentlemen. I’m checking the e-mail during the break: “Are you gonna talk about the Fruit of Kaboom Bomber?” That’s what we’re going to call the guy. Yeah we’re going to call about the Fruit of Kaboom Bomber and Obama and all of this stuff. But everybody is curious about my medical circumstances last week and I wanted to thank everybody involved in treating me and all of you for the tremendous response I got from all of you. The whole thing was actually an upper as it turned out. And yes, I checked the e-mail, “Rush, do you know that there were Democrats saying that you had died? Do you know that there were Democrats hoping?” Yeah, of course, folks. I knew that was going to be the case. You know, we’re always being lectured to on civility. But here’s the thing you need to know. Those people that were delighting in my potential death and distress, even hoping that I would die?

They’re the same people who are asking to control the health care system, and I want to stress one more time: When I went out there and said that the American health care system is the best health care system in the world, I was thanking and praising the people at Queen’s Hospital, and they said, “That’s a political attack! That’s a political attack on Obama,” as though the Drive-Bys had never politicized anything. Then they tried to say, “Yeah, but Limbaugh inadvertently screwed himself here because Hawaii has the most progressive health care system in the country. In fact it’s been exempted from a lot of Obamacare because it’s got so much of Obamacare in it. So Limbaugh praised Obamacare!” I even had some journalists sending me notes on Sunday wanting me to comment on that, and I said, “How stupid and dense are these people? There was not one shred of Obamacare in any aspect of the care that I got.”

A, I don’t have insurance. Hell, I may have it, I don’t even know. But I don’t use it. I pay cash for it. I gave them a credit card and they took the credit card. There was not one bureaucrat involved. Now, in Obamacare, you have to have health insurance or go to jail or pay a fine. I’m not gonna get health insurance. I’m not going to inflate my bill by 35%. This cost me 30% less than had insurance been involved here. There was not one bureaucrat determining whether or not I was gonna get treatment. There wasn’t a death panel here. There wasn’t a set of guidelines saying, “Okay, this guy is 58 and is going to be 59 in two weeks. This is going to cost X. Eh, maybe it’s not worth it.” That did not happen. There was not one shred of Obamacare involved in my visit to the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu. Here are some audio sound bites. This is a montage last Friday, Saturday, and Monday, a bunch of people from the media outraged that I praised the health care system.

HENRY: Rush Limbaugh [is] getting right back into the thick of the health care debate.

GLOR: Limbaugh said he’s received, quote, “the best treatment in the world” and that “there’s not one thing wrong with the US health care system.”

BRIGGS: He did weigh in on the condition of our health care here in the United States.

BREAM: Limbaugh could not resist the opportunity to turn the conversation about his health into politics.

JARRETT: A very vocal opponent of government health care reform put in a plug for the current state of US medical care.

RITTER: …using all this attention to blast health care reform.

NGUYEN: Limbaugh says the results showed no heart problems. Then he delivered a similar diagnosis for America’s health care system.

HENDRICKS: Limbaugh couldn’t resist taking a political jab at a hospital news conference.

HILL: (music) …couldn’t resist taking a jab at the debate over health care reform.

FIRFER: Limbaugh couldn’t resist taking a political jab at a hospital news conference.

COWAN: Rush Limbaugh didn’t waste the opportunity yesterday to say that his experience at the hospital here was proof that the health care system is just fine.

OLBERMANN: Rush Limbaugh explains he now has first-hand knowledge that the current health system works. Of course it does if, like him, you make $33 million a year.

MATTHEWS: Rush Limbaugh managed to turn his trip to the hospital last week into an attack on president Obama and the Democrats. Look, I’m sincerely happy Rush is okay, but does the man have to turn even an emergency hospital visit into a political event?
RUSH: (laughing) I’m still tweaking them, and they’re really upset because they know that I made a point. They know that I did. These people politicize everything! All they do is see the politics of any event. They see a terror attack or a potential terror attack and say, “Oh, my gosh! Will this hurt Obama politically? How can we insulate Obama? Oh, another crasher got into the state dinner for this Indian prime minister, a third one? Is this going to hurt Obama? Will this hurt Rahm Emanuel?” They’re always looking at things in a political sense, and why shouldn’t I make that comment? Hell, I coulda gone even further. I coulda said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank God that this happened to me now instead of 2013 when Obamacare goes in full force, if it does.” So this is fascinating to watch these people react. I told Kathryn, I said, “That little comment, we’re going to get three days out of this. We’re gonna jab ’em. You watch. That’s what they’re going to hear: State-Run Media outrage.” This is ABC’s This Week on Sunday, most of these. They continue to be outraged that I used the hospital news conference to praise the health care system.

BROWNSTEIN: What Rush as saying — uh, Limbaugh was saying — was great except for the 47 million people (snickers) who don’t have health insurance. Uh, uh, uh, uh —

REPORTER: And are not as wealthy as he is.

BROWNSTEIN: And — and — and — and don’t have access.

REPORTER: (giggles)

BROWNSTEIN: Uh, I do think in the end they do have to make, uh, a deal and re — and — and reach a bill. The Democrats, have… You know… This has been a very difficult hill to take. The — the political costs of it are obvious, uh, the approval rating of the president, ideological polarization around the size of government. There have been a lot of costs to get to this point. It is further, we should point out, than any president has ever going to gotten. No universal coverage bill has passed either chamber. Uh, to be at this point and be the get to the finish line would be almost unimaginable.

RUSH: Universal coverage? We don’t have that yet. That’s going to take a while. But did you notice here that Mr. Brownstein said “47 million people who don’t have health insurance.” Ladies and gentlemen, I was taken to the emergency room where I was treated, and anybody who had what I had would have been treated. It could have been some troll underneath a bridge. If they’d been found with this kind of problem and put in an ambulance, the law requires that the person get treated in the emergency room. You don’t need insurance for it. They eventually come to you for some kind of payment, but the 47 million is actually 30 when you take the illegal aliens out of it. We know this from President Obama. We’ve run the numbers on this. The number of people that really want health insurance and can’t get it is 12 million. But regardless, the Obamacare health care bill in the House or Senate does not insure these 47 million, Mr. Brownstein. It doesn’t come close — and we don’t need to spend $2.5 trillion to insure these 47 million.

We could take unspent stimulus money and insure all the people in this group without changing the health care system at all! Again, I want to reiterate this one point. A lot of people say, “Rush, you’re really running a risk here of sounding out of touch when you talk about how you can pay for this.” I’m sorry, folks. If that’s being out of touch, I’ll run the risk. I’d rather look at it this way, and this has happened to me before. I remember in the mid-nineties, I got a famous call — H.R., you’ll remember this — from some guy in Nacogdoches, Texas, who said, “You’re out of touch,” ’cause I had told him I’d paid the bills the other month and I didn’t have a problem writing the checks. “Yeah, you don’t know what it’s like to have to not be able to pay your electric bill.” I said, “Yes, I do. I’ve gone through countless months where I’ve been unable to pay my bills.” I said, “Sir, what I’d rather look at here is that I live in a country where I was able to set a goal, and I’ve been able to achieve it.”

I might also add that it took a little government shrinkage for my goal to be realized. That was the Fairness Doctrine. Somebody had to get rid of a little bit of government in order for me to exercise fully the opportunities that I wanted to. But this trip to the hospital, I’ll admit that it’s special. I’m very grateful for it but it’s something that I’ve worked for. I’m not running around asking anybody else to pay for it, and I don’t have an attitude in my head that somebody else ought to have to pay for it. I budget this. I figure that these kinds of things are going to happen as you get older, so I set money aside for it. And I don’t know that makes me out of touch. It rather makes me responsible. Now, I know that not everybody can do it under the current structure of our system, which is my real point. Real reform of the health care system would involve NOTHING like what we have done in the House and Senate.

Real reform of the health care system would involve cost control and increasing access to health care, and it would not be hard. It would say some time and it would take some commitment, but if we could reestablish — like we have in every other commercial transaction in the country, where the customer (i.e., patient) pays based on the ability to afford. And, yeah, there will be different kinds of health care, just as there are different grades of cars and hotels and so forth. Not everybody gets the best of everything and anything! Yet we’ve evolved this attitude that everybody ought to get the best in health care. I know it sounds insensitive when I say that there are going to be levels. Go to Canada or go to Great Britain and find out if in these wonderful socialist utopias everybody gets the best of everything. It doesn’t happen. It’s a pipe dream. And it’s irresponsible for Obama and the Democrats to start promising that kind of thing, especially promising people they’re not going to have to pay for it when their premiums — everybody’s costs — are going to skyrocket like you can’t believe.

Everybody’s been sold a bill of goods on this thing. You know, they’re not even going to have a conference committee now. They’re going to play ping-pong back and forth, the Democrat leaders, and be they’re not going to televise the hearings. Obama promised eight times to put this on TV! Pelosi is mad that he made that promise. She’s mad that he’s raising taxes on the middle class with “Cadillac” health care plans. She took a swipe at him. We got the audio. Eight times he promised all this transparency! They can’t afford you to see what’s actually in this bill or to see them doing this. The Democrats, they are resigning in droves here. We’re up to five now including Chris Dodd. You know, Abraham Lincoln used to say something about his wife Mary Todd. She came from a very pretentious family, and he always joked, “You know, God only needed one D in his name; Mary’s family needs two.” Well, Chris Dodd’s got three D’s in his name; God only needs one.

RUSH: One more sound bite. This is from the Morning Joe team on Monday morning. Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Willie Geist, Andy Serwer from Fortune Magazine, Hurricane Katrina vanden Heuvel from The Nation magazine.

GEIST: Mr. Rush Limbaugh checked himself into a hospital — he was on vacation in Hawaii — suffering from chest pains. But he came out and had a New Year’s Day news conference outside the hospital to announce that all was well with not just him personally, but with the American health care system. No need for change. See, Katrina, there’s nothing wrong with the health care system.

VANDEN HEUVEL: He was at a resort in Hawaii and has insurance.

SERWER: What’s his deductible? What’s his deductible?

SCARBOROUGH: No. Our thoughts and prayers are with Rush…

GEIST: We’re glad he’s healthy.

VANDEN HEUVEL: Is he on Medicare, I wonder?

SCARBOROUGH: … for — for anybody in that position, but we’re — we’re praying for him, but, yeah, if you make $50 million…

SERWER: There you go.

GEIST: It works.

SCARBOROUGH: …you’re going to probably get better coverage.

SERWER: There is the point. That’s the point.

SCARBOROUGH: And all of us around this table get coverage like Rush gets.

BRZEZINSKI: And you’re an international celebrity.

RUSH: In the first place, you don’t need to make $33 million a year or $50 million to afford what happened. I’ll put it to you this way. My expenses were less than the cheapest car that you will go out and buy today other than one of these little bubble smart cars. It was five figures less than the average car. Yet for some reason it’s immoral for people to have to pay for that. I don’t have insurance. “I’m sure he has insurance.” No. I pay cash for it and it was less than the price of a car. And just as is the case with a car you could finance your health care coverage. You don’t have to come up with the whole lump sum, hospitals, doctors, work with you on this. But we’ve got to this point — I know I’m going to lose this point, I know I’m not going to succeed in convincing anybody here because we’ve had really 15 to 20 intense years of the Democrat Party slowly but surely pounding everybody with the concept that the one thing in human life that is sacrosanct is not life itself but rather health care, and that it ought not cost anybody anything.

You know when I was a young kid I was a big fan of the space program. I loved Mercury rockets, the capsule and the first suborbital flights. I was mesmerized by it. I’m nine or ten years old and I remember asking my dad — I’m watching the coverage, I think it was Walter Cronkite on CBS. I’m watching the coverage of the first orbital flight, John Glenn, and somebody talked about how much it cost. And I looked at my dad, and I said, “Why does it cost anything? Why don’t people donate? Don’t they understand this is for their country?” The instinct of people is that there ought to be things that don’t cost anything. As a young kid, without full immersion into anything intellectual politically or economic, my instinct was why does it cost anything, why don’t the people who make the rocket donate it and why don’t the people who make the capsule donate it? And why don’t the people working in the building that we see monitoring it, why don’t they donate their work? And my dad looked at me and I could tell he was sort of challenged by the question because normally when I asked a stupid question he could tell me it was stupid and answer it anyway. This one he kind of pondered because he knew he was going to have a tough time explaining this because this was an economics lesson I was asking at age nine or ten.

My point is there are people today, adults, who look at the health care system the way I thought of the space program or anything else American and thus patriotic when I was nine. Why does anybody have to pay for it? And the only way you can fully understand why somebody has to pay for it is to get some kind of a basic understanding of economics 101. And even people who have that still get clouded by or confused by what they consider the humanitarian nature or mission combined with the never-ending drumbeat politically of class envy and the poor and the cost and so forth, everybody has a moral right to health care, to the best. And yet they don’t say that about cars, they don’t say it about airplane tickets, they don’t say it about food. They don’t say it about water. Why don’t we have water insurance? Have you see what bottled water costs? But health care — and this is because for 50 years the Democrat Party has wanted to nationalize it and come up with a single-payer system, putting themselves in total power control over as many citizens as possible.


RUSH: My friends, my friends, I totally get it. Let me explain it to you this way. Imagine the costs of my treatment out in Hawaii. I know what the costs would look like to somebody that doesn’t have a job, under water in their house, no investment portfolio. I know how frightening that is. That’s exactly what Obama wants. That’s the fear he wants. He wants everybody thinking, “Oh, my God, I can’t afford it, oh, it would break my life. Government, please pay for it.” That’s what they’re all counting on rather than people assuming responsibility for their own health care.