Earlier this week, Rush Limbaugh was rushed to a hospital in Hawaii after he complained of chest pains and had reportedly been taken from his hotel “in serious condition.” Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu released Limbaugh yesterday and during a press conference, the conservative radio host said his physicians did not know what caused his symptoms. “I wish I knew what it was,” he said. Limbaugh also denied that he is again taking painkillers and praised the U.S. health care system based on his experience:
Asked if he was taking painkillers, he flatly said “No,” and added that he was taking Prednisone, a type of steroid used to treat inflammatory diseases. […]
“The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer,” Limbaugh said. “Based on what happened here to me, I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy.”
Of course Rush would probably think any health system is “just dandy,” mainly because he is a multi-millionaire and can afford the best health care wherever he might be. But this is not the case for tens of millions of Americans who are unable to afford care or insurance due to the rising costs of health care in the U.S.
But it’s also odd that Limbaugh would cite his experience in Hawaii as evidence that the U.S. health care system is “fine” seeing that Hawaii has already passed reform measures similar to those that Congress is currently considering as part of comprehensive reform — measures that Limbaugh has constantly been attacking.
The state enacted a measure in the 1970s mandating that employers provide “relatively generous health care benefits” to full-time employees (Congress is currently considering a similar provision as part of reform) and Hawaii now has one of the lowest rates of uninsured in the nation, and more access has provided space for innovation and brought down costs:
Hawaii’s health insurance premiums are nearly tied with North Dakota for the lowest in the country, and Medicare costs per beneficiary are the nation’s lowest. […]
With more people given access to care, hospital and insurance executives in Hawaii say they have been able to innovate efficiencies. For instance, the state’s top three medical providers are adopting electronic medical records — years ahead of most mainland counterparts.
The Hawaii Medical Service Association, the state’s largest insurer and a Blue Cross Blue Shield member, recently offered the nation’s only statewide system whereby anyone for a nominal fee can talk by phone or e-mail, day or night, to doctors of their choosing.
Yet just two weeks ago, Limbaugh said those supporting health care reform are “mentally disturbed” and that “people are going to die” if reform ultimately passes.