Rush Limbaugh’s Health Care Experience and The American Health Care System

Many bloggers are mocking Rush Limbaugh’s claim that there is nothing wrong with the health care system based upon his limited experience from his recent hospitalization. I am glad for him that his cardiac status is sound. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about his cognitive abilities here.

The New York Daily News quoted Limbaugh:

Conservative radio loudmouth Rush Limbaugh learned this week there’s nothing wrong with his heart – and there’s nothing wrong with the nation’s health care system.

At a New Year’s Day news conference in Honolulu, Limbaugh said Friday that tests revealed nothing medically wrong with his heart.

Severe chest pains landed him in a Hawaii hospital Wednesday.

“The pain was real, and they don’t know what caused it,” Limbaugh said.

Doctors said he did not have a heart attack and he doesn’t suffer from heart disease.

Turning from his health to politics, Limbaugh declared Friday he got the best health treatment in the world “right here in the United States of America.”

“I don’t think there’s one thing wrong with the United States health system,” Limbaugh said.

Steve Benen responded:

…Limbaugh is deliberately obscuring what the debate over health care policy is all about. He received fine care “right here in the United States of America.” Well, of course he did. No one is saying that there’s something wrong with our medical professionals, our technology, our facilities, and/or our ability to treat the ill.

The point is who has access to this quality care, who can afford it, who’ll die because they lack the necessary coverage, who’ll get kicked out of the system under rescission, who’ll never get into the system because of a pre-existing condition, and whether families, businesses, and government agencies will go bankrupt trying to finance such a system.

Limbaugh felt chest pains, was admitted, underwent a series of tests, and received fine care. I’m glad. But to think that every American, regardless of circumstance, would receive identical treatment is to bury one’s head in the sand and pretend reality doesn’t exist.

Another difference is that someone affluent like Limbaugh could have received care in the past which to reduce his risk of heart disease, including treatment for problems such as diabetes, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia if present. An uninsured person might not have received medical care until they first showed up in ER.

An uninsured person might also have received the same care to rule out a heart attack, but there’s a big difference if Limbaugh or an uninsured person continued to have pain which was not found to be cardiac. As Limbaugh said, the pain is real but the cause remains unknown. Limbaugh could continue to receive testing to try to determine the cause after discharge, while the uninsured person could not.

So yes, in a very limited way, Limbaugh did receive the same care as others at the time of his hospitalization–but this misses the big picture and does not mean there are no problems with our system.

Alan Colmes also points out that, “Hawaii has been a leader in health care reform, having instituted the kind of reforms Limbaugh has railed against.  Ninety percent of the population has relatively generous benefits, and reform in that state has led the way to innovation.”

While not practicing in Hawaii, I often see individuals who are much poorer than Rush Limbaugh but receive comparable care, including more aggressive treatment if cardiac problems are found. A tremendous number of these people receive such coverage because of being over 65 and qualifying for Medicare–a government program. They would not have received the same type of care long term if younger unless they happened to receive coverage from an employer.

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9 Comments

  1. 1
    healthy says:

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  2. 2
    Charles Seymour Jr says:

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  3. 3
    Leslie Parsley says:

    You’re bound to get good care when there’s nothing to care for. And as a couple of folks on my blog commented, you can’t have heart trouble when you don’t have one. He even said, “I’ve never had heart trouble in my life.” It was theatre. The showman faked it.

  4. 4
    Alexes Gonvoni says:

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  5. 5
    Pelosio says:

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  6. 6
    Alan Brown says:

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  7. 7
    US Health Care News says:

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  8. 8
    blogs of the world says:

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  9. 9
    sharon thomas says:

    Mr. Limbaugh did not receive the same  attention that the average Joe would have received.  I understand they shut down the wing of the hotel while rescuing him.  They made sure the public would not witness his emergency.  Then as he arrived he was given the utmost attention.

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