On Monday, hate radio host Rush Limbaugh pledged to leave the country and go to Costa Rica if Congress successfully passes and implements its health care legislation. Yesterday, Limbaugh claimed that he never said he’d leave the country. The host explained that what he meant was that he would go to Costa Rica to “get major medical care,” meaning he’d travel there exclusively to use their health care system:
LIMBAUGH: I did not say I’m going to Costa Rica. The stupid people in the media who cannot trouble themselves to read my transcripts or listen to this program, listen to out of context stuff. I was asked yesterday where will I go for health care if Obama’s health care passes, and I said if doctors here are not permitted to form private practice little clinics with individuals paying a fee, a retainer, and for services, then I’ll go to Costa Rica to get major medical health care. I didn’t say I would move there. They’re all over these websites: “Limbaugh says he’d move to Costa Rica. Why, what more incentive do we have to pass health care to get Limbaugh to move to Costa Rica?” Now, New Zealand is reading about this and they’re all bent out of shape that I’m somehow not coming there, all because of the stupid media. They are not competing for me because Costa Rica doesn’t think I’m going to move there, which I wouldn’t. Gosh.
Listen to it:
What is ironic about Limbaugh — who has ranted about the dangers of “socialized health care” for years — seeking health care in Costa Rica is that the country has a hybrid government-private health care system that provides comprehensive universal coverage to all of its residents. The government owns several major public hospitals and operates small clinics in almost every community. Workers are required to contribute 15% of their salaries to health insurance and the unemployed “obtain public funding for all health services, including prescription drugs.” Most Costa Ricans obtain their health care through a public plan called the Caja — similar to our Medicare or the proposed public option.
Costa Rica’s system of universal coverage is so effective that it actually ranks one slot above the United States in the World Health Organization’s ranking of health systems worldwide while actually spending less per capita than we do. Does Limbaugh’s threat to seek health care on the island nation mean that the radio host is endorsing a similar system for the United States?