Last week, Rush Limbaugh was rushed to a hospital while vacationing in Hawaii after complaining of chest pains. Shortly after being released from Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, Limbaugh said his doctors didn’t know what caused his symptoms, and he praised the U.S. health care system based on his experience at the hospital:
“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.”
ThinkProgress noted that it was odd that Limbaugh would cite his experience in Hawaii given that the state has previously passed a measure mandating that employers cover full-time employees, a provision that is similar to those being considered in Congress as part of comprehensive health care reform. SEIU’s blog notes that some of the health care reform measures before Congress wouldn’t even affect Hawaii:
In fact, Hawaii is so forward-thinking that the Senate bill excludes Hawaii from some of its provisions, because Hawaii’s requirements on employers go farther than the federal legislation.
But most interestingly, SEIU also points out that Queen’s Medical Center’s nursing staff are represented by the Hawaii Nurses’ Association union and that “Hawaii has one of the greatest percentages of organized workers of any state and also had the highest percentage of organized RNs.”
The New Republic notes some other aspects of Limbaugh’s endorsement of health care reform:
Hawaii’s experience refutes, with real-world evidence, the opposition arguments that employer mandates are “job killers.” Recent studies of the employer mandate in Hawaii — and in San Francisco, the other place in the United States with a strong employer requirement to contribute to health care — show that there was no measurable impact on jobs. [...]
Both Hawaii and San Francisco have higher requirements on what employers must provide than what is envisioned in either the federal health reform proposals.
While Limbaugh has repeatedly attacked Democrats’ efforts at health care reform, he also regularly vilifies unions, calling them “thugs.” “Find a business in trouble,” Limbaugh has said, “and you will find a union involved.” Apparently, this isn’t so for Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu.