The accidental endorser: Rush Limbaugh on Costa Rica’s health care

private hospital in Costa Rica

During his March 8 show, conservative radio celeb Rush Limbaugh said that if the current U.S. health care reform is approved, he would move to Costa Rica.

He seems to have evoked Costa Rica as a place where there’s less “government intervention in health care,” but of course Costa Rica has more “intervention” in providing medical care for its citizens than does the U.S.

Igor Volsky, writing for WonkRoom, put it well:

“But unbeknownst to Rush, Costa Rica’s hybrid government-private health care system provides comprehensive universal coverage to all residents – and even sells affordable policies to soon-to-be visitors like Limbaugh. 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.” At least a third of all Costa Rican residents receive some care in the private sector and the government regularly purchases services from private providers. The system is not without its problems, but it boasts a higher ranking from the World Health Organization – Costa Rica is 36, United States 37 – and has higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality rates. Costa Rica also spends less per capita on health care than the United States and insures almost all of its residents.”

In his ignorance of Costa Rica, Rush inadvertently endorses a system that he spends a great deal of air time vilifying. Sure, Rush, come to Costa Rica–you’ll see how a tiny country with fewer resources than the U.S. makes health care a priority for its people.

More information:

The basics of Costa Rican health care

Four expats weigh in on public and private care in Costa Rica