Rush Limbaugh thought he was being so000 clever, utzing it to the left. Rush took some time out from his near-heart attack recovery to ooze his considerable mass in front of a microphone at the hospital in Hawaii where he recuperated. He wanted to tout how the experience showed him what he already know — how great the American health care system is:
Of course, it is great that Rush's heart problem wasn't serious, and that he's fine. But what he didn't realize, apparently, when he was praising America's great health care system was that his treatment was especially good because…
Hawaii has had nearly-universal employer-mandated health insurance since 1974. Although its Pacific Island location makes the costs of everything–from gasoline to milk to ice cream to housing–the highest in the nation, health care premiums in Hawaii, for comprehensive care with small co-pays and deductibles, are nearly the lowest and their costs per medicare beneficiary are the lowest in the nation.
Why? There are a variety of reasons, most traceable to universality. With everyone covered by primary care, emergency room visits tend to be for real emergencies, not the non-emergent care mainland ERs dispense for people without coverage. That reduces the costs of ERs and the costs of non-emergent medicine since patients can be handled less expensively and more effectively by their primary docs. Hospitals have not overbuilt, acquiring expensive machines to compete with their neighbors for patients. Insurance companies have instituted screening and other measures to improve wellness among their covered populations.
Of course, Rush isn't Hawaiian, so Hawaii's socialist health care policies didn't apply to him. But the point is that he still was able to receive high quality medical care, which he praised, from a system which has been practicing European-style universal health care for nearly three decades.
UPDATE — And also, as Think Progress reminds us….
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.