On Monday, Rush Limbaugh gave the biggest possible push to passing health care reform when he said, "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."
Now, celebrities often make such threats, though it generally doesn't pan out. Alec Baldwin didn't leave the country when George Bush was re-elected, but at least his outburst was understandable. When you think the person in charge might do something like attack yet another country without reason, or oversee the collapse of the nation's economy, it can make one queasy. Plus, it's hard to be in a TV series when you're commuting from another country.
Rush Limbaugh has no such excuses. He's complaining about providing medical care to the needy. One can disagree with the methods, but that's still the issue. Further, he can do his radio show from anywhere, so he has no reason to stay.
Ta-ta, don't let the door hit you on the way out. And thanks for giving America one more reason to pass health care reform.
But for all the excitement Mr. Limbaugh has brought to the issue by his promise to leave, most people are missing the larger and more important point in his statement.
What's noteworthy about Rush Limbaugh's statement is (remarkably) not that he said he would leave the country. It's that he said the country he would go to Costa Rica.
You see -- Costa Rica is covered by universal health care!
But it goes deeper than that. Read the words from the International Living website. It makes Mr. Limbaugh's decision on where to go even more pointed:
"Costa Rica has universal health care, one of the best health systems in Latin America," it begins, then adding, "the quality of Costa Rica's health care is excellent. Private health care is also available, very affordable, and high quality."
Pretty darn good, eh? But wait! No, there's more:
"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."
So, this is where Rush Limbaugh says he'll go if health care reform passes in the U.S. And you thought it was because he was against health care reform. Noooooo! It's because he wants a government-run, single-payer universal health care system. Like there is in Costa Rica. Where Rush Limbaugh says he'll move.
By the way, while the concept of health care reform is deeply frightening to Republicans, unanimously blocking something so controversial as the mere choice of a government-run public option -- Costa Rica (where Rush Limbaugh wants to move) has had universal health care for over 60 years!
Universal health care for over 60 years, in Costa Rica, and the United States of America is trying to give insurance to 30 million people who have no coverage at all.
Still, some might be concerned for Mr. Limbaugh, since, after all, he's not Costa Rican, and therefore wouldn't be eligible for their government-run, excellent universal healthcare system. Well, good news! Rush will be just fine. Not to worry. "Open not just to Costa Rican residents," International Living reports, "the CCSS provides affordable medical service to any foreign resident or visitor."
Universal health coverage, government run, excellent care, open to all. No wonder Rush Limbaugh wants to move to Costa Rica. In fact, their health coverage must be so wonderful that he's willing to overlook that Costa Rica doesn't have a standing army.
No doubt, however, fans of Rush Limbaugh are a bit frittery about the world spinning out of control, as their hero goes over to the other side in the health care debate. Not to worry, it's okay. He's in good company. After all, even Sarah Palin said that she has, as well.
Only the day before, the former ex-part-time governor told a crowd that she, too, has gone over to the other side -- literally.
"Believe it or not -- this was in the '60s -- we used to hustle on over the border for healthcare that we would receive in Whitehorse," she explained to a Canadian audience in Calgary. "I remember my brother, he burned his ankle in some little kid accident thing, and my parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse and I think, isn't that kind of ironic now. Zooming over the border, getting healthcare from Canada?"
Personally, "ironic" isn't the word I would use. "Gut-wrenchingly hypocritical" would have been my choice.
Still, I think that the --
Wait, hold on a second! Let's look at what Ms. Palin had to say again. "My parents had to put him on a train and rush him over to Whitehorse."
Rush him over. Rush! It all fits. The world makes sense again. There's perfect symmetry. It's all connected. From Sarah Palin to rush. From rush to Rush. And from Rush to Costa Rica.
Goodbye. Good riddance. And good health.
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