Less than two weeks after Rush Limbaugh proposed eating “applesauce” as a solution for not being able to afford dentures due to lack of health insurance, Fox's Steve Doocy endorsed a veterinarian's idea to “fix” health care by “treat[ing] people like dogs.” Limbaugh has also cited a lack of a “federal dog health care plan” as evidence that health insurance is not necessary.
Doocy endorses a “treat them like dogs” solution to health care reform
Doocy: Idea to “treat [people] like dogs” “makes a lot of sense.” On the March 12 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Steve Doocy reported on a Newsweek column by “very brilliant” veterinarian Karen Oberthaler entitled “Treat People Like Dogs” which suggested that the health care system should resemble the veterinary one. Doocy said the idea “makes a lot of sense,” because “we're on the hook” for our pet's medical costs. Doocy said: "[T]here's only 3 percent of Americans who have pet insurance and so we're on the hook for the charges. So, if Americans were on the hook for all the tests and stuff, it would be a lot different." Citing Oberthaler's column, Doocy added: “if you've got a golden retriever...and you know that the dog has got cancer and it's -- you know, there really is no getting any better, would you order a bunch of tests that are going to be costly and right out of your pocket because chances are you don't have the insurance...it also has to do with, you know, putting the dog through pain at the end of the road.”
Limbaugh also suggested modeling the health care system after pet medicine because “there's no insurance involved”
Limbaugh: “There's no federal dog healthcare plan out there, and it's working just fine.” On the June 15 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show, Limbaugh argued against public health care programs, claiming “there's no federal dog health care plan out there, and it's working just fine,” because the “private market is providing dog owners every option they want for their dogs to be cared for” and that “it's based on the owner's ability to pay, there's no insurance involved.”
Limbaugh and other media conservatives have a history of mocking the uninsured
Limbaugh's health care plan: “If you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for?” Responding to a story Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) told about a woman who wore dentures that previously belonged to her dead sister because she lacked insurance and could not afford to buy her own, Limbaugh stated on February 25:
LIMBAUGH: You know I'm getting so many people -- this Louise Slaughter comment on the dentures? I'm getting so many people -- this is big, I mean, that gets a one-time mention for a laugh, but there are people out there that think this is huge because it's so stupid. I mean, for example, well, what's wrong with using a dead person's teeth? Aren't the Democrats big into recycling? Save the planet? And so what? So if you don't have any teeth, so what? What's applesauce for? Isn't that why they make applesauce?
Beck mocks Slaughter's story: “I've read the Constitution ... I didn't see that you had a right to teeth.” On his February 26 radio show, Glenn Beck played an audio clip of Slaughter's account then said, “I am wearing George Washington's dentures right now. I'm wearing his teeth right now.” He later added, “I just like wearing dead people's teeth. But in America -- I'm sorry, I didn't know that that was -- I've read the Constitution before. I didn't see that you had a right to teeth.” Echoing Limbaugh's remarks the previous day, Beck stated, “The environmentalists should be all over Slaughter. 'How dare you say that?' My gosh, they're just recycling. They're just reusing.”
Beck sidekick uses baby voice to mock letters Obama receives. On Beck's February 25 radio show, co-host Steve “Stu” Burguiere stated that Obama “gets 10 letters, Glenn, every night.” Co-host Pat Gray asked, “From 2-year-old girls?” Then, one of the co-hosts started speaking in a baby's voice: “I have no health care, Mr. Pwesident, and I have no feet and no tonsils because doctors took 'em out.”
Conservative blogger Pamela Geller linked to an audio clip of the segment, which she wrote was "[d]a best! the funniest thang evuh!"
Gateway Pundit attacks Slaughter's “sappy lib sob story of the day, hands down.” On his Gateway Pundit blog, Jim Hoft linked to a video clip of Slaughter telling the story about the dentures under the headline, "Horror! Lib Dem Claims Her Constituent Wore Dead Sister's Teeth (Video)." After declaring the account the “sappy lib sob story of the day, hands down,” Hoft wrote: “Will Obamacare buy me glasses and contacts? Will Obamacare buy me a gold tooth in the front of my mouth with a little heart on it?”
Ingraham: “Louise Slaughter won the Olympics of sob stories.” On Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, radio host Laura Ingraham said she “liked the dueling sob stories, OK? One Democrat was trying to outdo the next on the sob story about how rotten our health care system is. Louise Slaughter won the Olympics of sob stories by saying one of her constituents had to wear her sister's dentures. OK? It got so bad with the health care system.” She later added, “You had Harry Reid on the cleft palate with his -- I mean, the whole thing was ridiculous.”
Fox Nation labels anecdote “Summit Insanity.” From The Fox Nation, accessed February 25:
Limbaugh mocked story of transplant patient on Medicare who will have to pay own bills after three years. On February 26, referring to a story Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) recounted at President Obama's health care summit, Limbaugh stated:
LIMBAUGH: This patient was about to receive a transplanted organ -- Clyburn didn't specify what it was -- and the horror -- he's gonna get a -- he's gonna get a totally paid-for transplant. The horror is that he was going to have to start paying his post-op bills in three years.
If this is the worst we can say about American medicine, are we really in that bad a shape after all?
I have a different observation on this. I mean, look at where we are with this. This guy is -- he about had an emotional breakdown 'cause he was told he's gotta start paying his own medical bills after three years. He gets a free transplant; he gets a free after-care for three years and then he's on his own, and he's mad and thinks he's getting screwed.
Limbaugh told caller who can't afford $6,000 to treat broken wrist: “Well, you shouldn't have broken your wrist.” In August 2009, Limbaugh had the following exchange with a caller:
CALLER: If we pay for our health care ourselves, would it bring costs down?
LIMBAUGH: Yeah, it would, if -- with other -- yeah, if you get some other players out of the game, yeah -- of course.
CALLER: What do you mean by “other players” ? I'm sorry.
LIMBAUGH: Government -- get the government out of it. Get the government -- their stupid regulations. Get the government out of Medicare. You -- look it, the only way that cost or price ratios make sense is based on the consumer's ability to pay. There has to be a direct relationship between the customer and the business at the surface.
CALLER: OK. I just broke my wrist and it's costing me $6,000. I can't afford that.
LIMBAUGH: Well, you shouldn't have broken your wrist.
CALLER: That's true.
LIMBAUGH: You know why it costs $6,000? Because you, technically, aren't paying for it. An insurance policy's paying for it, backed up by some government insurance policy, or what have you.