Thursday, December 31, 2009

Good Health Care, For Rush

First, the obligatory: like most people, I am glad that it appears that Rush Limbaugh, who entered Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu on Wednesday suffering from pain in his upper left chest "like I've never experienced before," appears to be fine (physically). (If bad health forced him from the air, where else would I get half my ideas for this blog?) No more or less than the a man in Topeka or Albuquerque or a woman in Minneapolis or Little Rock admitted to a hospital emergency room over the past few days.

Rush was his usual snarky, combative self in a press conference, remarking "The treatment I received here was the best that the world has to offer. I don't think there's one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine." He doesn't believe that, of course, but Limbaugh will say all manner of things which only the completely ignorant would believe. It is just, well, ideologically and politically advantageous for him to pretend that he really, truly believes such things.

More to the point, though: Limbaugh, according to CNN, also

urged anyone who experiences heart or chest pain to seek medical help immediately.

"Don't mess with it," he said.

Yea, no kidding. Presumably, he will be applauded for lending his prestige to the (sensible) idea that if you think you're getting a heart attack, you should not roll over and go back to sleep. But what about when an American experiences less frightening symptoms or is ill short of suffering a heart attack or stroke? How does one respond when there is not "one thing wrong with the American health care system (which) is working just fine?"

A study in 2005 by the Commonwealth Fund found

51% of sick Americans surveyed did not visit a doctor, get a needed test, or fill a prescription within the past two years because of cost. No other country came close.

It's just a guess but my hunch is no one in the media, once Rush Limbaugh is able to return to work, will ask him if his advice for people experiencing chest or heart pain extends to Americans unable to get health care because they cannot afford it. After all, if a reporter or interviewer did ask such a question, his/her organization would be branded part of the "liberal media" and wouldn't be fulfilling its need to pander to the interests of the private, for-profit health care bureaucracy.

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