Policy-ish

Why Rush Limbaugh Should Skip Costa Rica For Health Care

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh is no fan of Democrats' plans to overhaul health care.

But yesterday, he went so far as to say he'd leave the country for Costa Rica if the administration's proposal passes. Say what?

His pledge caused quite a stir. But, Limbaugh didn't mean he'd pack his bags for good. He actually meant he'd leave the county for medical care.

The problem? He doesn't cotton to any more government control of health care in this country.

But before he books a trip down south, he might take a closer look at health care in the Central American country.

A review in the American Journal of Public Health a couple of years back praises policies of the largely government-run health system that have emphasized universality and equity in health coverage.

Government funding covers "the bulk of overall health expenditures," the report says, and private insurance is "virtually nonexistent." Life expectancy at birth for Costa Ricans was 78, a year longer than for Americans at the time.

In fact, the public health academics who wrote the report argue that the Costa Rica's success should give pause to international aid agencies' drive to privatize health services there and elsewhere.

Finally, it was only a few months ago that Limbaugh praised the care he got in Hawaii after experiencing chest pains:

Based on what happened to me here, I don't think there is one thing wrong with the American health care system. It is working just fine, just dandy, and I got nothing special.

As a big union for health workers pointed out at the time, Hawaii's health system goes even further in providing care than some planks in the Senate health bill, earning the 50th state an exemption from some of the legislation's provisions.

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