Rush Limbaugh has threatened to move to Costa Rica if the healthcare reform package is passed into law. As Jack Turner points out, that’s an excellent reason to pass healthcare reform — getting rid of Racist Rush once and for all.

I’m sure Limbaugh chose Costa Rica for its sunny weather & tropical resort living. It’s popular with wealthy retirees in part not only because of the sunshine but also for its affordable, socialized medicine. Costa Rica, unlike the United States, has near universal, nationalized, high quality & affordable healthcare that is available to citizens and immigrants/foreigners alike. Yes, that’s right, Rush believes apparently that Costa Rica has a lot to offer besides being yet another tropical location where he can get high. It just shows how cruel, ignorant and selfish the Republicans who oppose healthcare reform here in the U.S. Sarah Palin’s family crossed the border to patronize the national healthcare system in Canada when she was a girl since it was superior to what was available locally in Alaska. Guess it must be a different set of rules if you’re Republican. Most Americans aren’t able to choose whether they get healthcare in this country or another country that does it cheaper and/or better.

From International Living which caters to rich Americans like Racist Rush looking for places to retire (emphasis mine):

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. Arguably, one reason for this is the slower pace of living in Costa Rica. And, of course, the healthy, fresh, non-preservative-laden foods found there, and the welcoming tropical climate. Costa Rica just seems to be a healthy place to live.

With a government-sponsored network of more than 30 hospitals and more than 250 clinics throughout the country, the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS) has primary responsibility for providing low-cost health care services to the Costa Rican populace. Although sometimes overburdened, this system has worked well for Costa Ricans for the past 60 or so years. Open not just to Costa Rican residents, the CCSS provides affordable medical service to any foreign resident or visitor. Foreigners living in Costa Rica can join the CCSS by paying a small monthly fee–based on income–or they can buy health insurance from the state monopoly Instituto de Seguro Nacional (INS), valid with over 200 affiliated doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies in the private sector.

Despite being a much smaller, poorer country than the U.S. everyone in Costa Rica — no matter how poor and no matter where they are from — has access to affordable healthcare. And just so we’re all clear, due to the many compromises in the current healthcare reform bill, I’m not sure their healthcare system won’t still have some advantages over ours in terms of access and affordability — even after healthcare reform is finally passed here in America.

Costa Rica Has Had a Public Health Care System for 65 Years – System Spends $6,000 Less Per Capita Than the U.S. but Boasts a Longer Life Expectancy and an Infant Mortality Rate Nearly Equal to the U.S. – 86.8 Percent of Costa Ricans Are Covered: “It’s been more than 65 years since this small country of 4.6 million people introduced a public health care system. Spending $6,000 less per capita than the United States on health today, Costa Rica boasts a longer life expectancy and an infant mortality rate nearly equal to that of the U.S. With a reputation for high quality and low prices, the country has even fashioned an industry out of health care, attracting hundreds of visitors each year who take advantage of medical tourism. ‘What we don’t understand is how we are able to work with this,’ said Rosa Climent, medical director of the Costa Rican Social Security System, pointing to a chart that shows employers pay 9.25 percent and workers pay 5.50 percent of their salaries into the system, which covers ‘all our health needs. And how the U.S. pays so much more and doesn’t cover its citizens.’ Not only do Costa Ricans have an 86.8 percent coverage rate, but the public health system serves residents who live miles from cities.”

[...]

“Climent, director of the day-to-day operation of Costa Rica’s Social Security System, said she almost was turned away from the door when she sought emergency services for her daughter in the United States. She said her family wasn’t allowed to see a doctor at a hospital in Florida before presenting $600. ‘In our system, the people who earn the most, pay the most, and the people who earn less, pay less,’ she said. ‘But everyone has the right to the same services. The people who earn more pay more so that everyone has access to healthcare.’”

[Tico Times, 8/21/09]

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