Health Care,  Stateside,  The Right

Limbaugh, Palin, health care and snow machines

One of the few things I once admired about American conservatives is that, on the whole, they were less likely than liberals to threaten to leave the country if things don’t go their way politically.

No more, it seems.

King Conservative himself, Rush Limbaugh, suggested he will depart these shores if the Democrats’ version of health care reform is enacted into law.

Responding to a caller [to his radio show] who asked him where he would go for health care if Congress enacts reform, Limbaugh replied,

“I don’t know. I’ll just tell you this, if this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented — I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.”

Yet another incentive to get the plan through Congress.

But Costa Rica?

Costa Rica has universal health care, one of the best health systems in Latin America. As always with nationalized health care, expect red tape and long waits, but the quality of Costa Rica’s health care is excellent. Private health care is also available, very affordable, and high quality. Many doctors speak English and have received training in Europe, Canada, or the U.S. There are three large, private hospitals that most expatriates use: CIMA hospital in Escazú, Clinica Biblica in San José, and Clinica Católica in San José-Guadalupe.

Statistics from the World Health Organization frequently place Costa Rica in the top country rankings in the world for long life expectancy, often even ahead of Great Britain and the United States, even though the per-capita income of Costa Ricans is about one-tenth that of the U.S. and the U.K.

Looks like the joke’s on you, Rush. In fact I doubt there’s a single country outside the US with completely free-market health care where you would care to live.

In related news, another icon of the political Right, Sarah Palin, made a rather shameful confession during an appearance in Calgary, Alberta.

The vocal opponent of health-care reform in the U.S. steered largely clear of the topic except to reveal a tidbit about her life growing up not far from Whitehorse [a town in the Canadian Yukon].

“We used to hustle over the border for health care we received in Canada,” she said. “And I think now, isn’t that ironic?”

Well, yes, I suppose that’s one way of putting it. I don’t know if Palin’s family had to pay out-of-pocket for using single-payer, government-run Canadian health care. But her use of the word “hustle” suggests there weren’t any of the months-long waiting lists to see a doctor suggested by the anti-single payer scare stories. And apparently the care was good enough to keep and sustain her to this day.

It fits in with my admittedly idiosyncratic theory that Palin is something of a secret socialist.

Some people might be tempted to cite as additional evidence the fact that her husband Todd’s snow machine racing team is sponsored by a government-owned company– and that the government in question is that of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (Hugo Chavez, president). The former governor did pose next to what I assume is her husband’s snow machine with the logo of the Venezuelan company, Mystik Lubricants, prominently displayed.

But I won’t try to pin that on her. Besides, I don’t believe Chavez is a genuine socialist– no matter how loudly and frequently he proclaims it.

(Hat tip: Andrew Murphy)

Update: Limbaugh later insisted that he had no plans to move to Costa Rica, but would go there for health care if the Democratic health care plan is implemented.

(Hat tip: mesquito in the comments)