Rush Limbaugh again dismissed poverty in America, downplaying the role high medical costs play in personal bankruptcies and blaming poverty on poor people.
Limbaugh expressed outrage that President Obama said Americans shouldn't expect to go bankrupt from medical bills and questioned whether medical bankruptcy occurs.
According to a study published in The American Journal of Medicine in 2009, medical problems contributed to at least 46 percent of all bankruptcy filings in 2007, and up to 62 percent of bankruptcy filings included a medical cause. Three-quarters of those filers had health insurance. CNN reported:
On average, medically bankrupt families had $17,943 in out-of-pocket expenses, including $26,971 for those who lacked insurance and $17,749 who had insurance at some point.
Limbaugh eventually acknowledged that medical costs do contribute to personal bankruptcies, but his comments downplaying medical bankruptcies were part of a larger critique of the social safety net. Responding to comments Obama made earlier in the day about rebuilding the American economy, Limbaugh chastised the president for saying we should not "settle for a country where a few people are doing very well and everybody else is having to just struggle to get by." Limbaugh downplayed concerns over inequality, saying, "It's not just a few people who do very well in this country." He added:
And in many cases, speaking bluntly, the people that don't do well only have themselves to blame. And those who have no control over themselves are the ones we help.
Limbaugh's dismissiveness is nothing new. In August 2009, he told a caller concerned about the cost of treating his broken wrist: "Well, you shouldn't have broken your wrist." In February 2010, Limbaugh suggested the uninsured eat applesauce if they couldn't afford dentures. He also advised people to pay for their doctor visits in cash instead of using insurance.