Should Rush Limbaugh Be Denied Health Insurance Coverage?
Sandra Fluke testified before Congress on February 23, 2012 that not having contraception covered on her student health plan at Georgetown University caused her and her fellow students a potentially dangerous financial burden. Georgetown covers contraception under its employees' insurance plans, but not its students.
Right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh caused a media frenzy by responding to Fluke's testimony, characterizing Fluke as a "slut" and a "prostitute". The characterization was made based on Fluke's testimony that the financial burden for her and fellow students could be as much as $1,000/year. Limbaugh's interpretation of Fluke's request was that Fluke was asking that private insurers pay for her and her fellow students to have a lot of sex and that people who have that much sex are sluts and prostitutes.
However, if personal choices are going to be the barometer for what is and isn't covered in insurance plans and we're going to deny coverage to people for certain things based on objectionable, dangerous, or immoral behavior, perhaps it's Rush Limbaugh who should be denied insurance coverage. After all, Limbaugh is overweight, a smoker, and a former prescription drug-addict - all choices that lead to increased risk of medical intervention. In fact, one might argue that Limbaugh's choices raise the insurance premiums on those of us who do not engage in such risky behaviors considerably more than Sandra Fluke's choices.
Rush Limbaugh and his supporters are making this argument:
Insurance coverage should be denied to those who engage in immoral behavior or whose actions put them at increased risk of insurance claims.
This argument is embodied with the following statement, which virtually everyone who supports Limbaugh has made:
I shouldn't have to pay for somebody else to have sex.
Fair enough. In other words, those of us who are opposed to a particular activity should not be made to pay for those who wish to engage in that activity. The way those of us who are opposed to that activity pay for others is through insurance premiums which go up as the coverage widens to include things such as contraception.
Now let's review Rush Limbaugh's lifestyle choices (and by inference, every person on the planet who makes choices similar to Limbaugh):
- Has been married four times.
- Admitted in 2003 to being addicted to prescription pain-killers.
- Had Viagra confiscated on his return from the Dominican Republic in 2006. The prescription was not in his name.
- Cigar smoker.
- Wine drinker.
Based on Rush Limbaugh's own arguments, these six behaviors more than form the basis for denial of insurance coverage. Since he's been married four times, he obviously can't keep a commitment and doesn't have much regard for the sanctity of marriage espoused in the Bible. Since he's, at best, a former user of illegal drugs, he's at an increased risk for a variety of health problems and my insurance premiums shouldn't be used to subsidize such behavior whether it's occurring now or in the past. Nobody forced him to use these drugs.
Viagra is frequently covered under many insurance plans. I don't think I should have to pay for Rush Limbaugh, or any old man, to have sex. Cigar smoking increases the liklihood of various forms of cancer, so I shouldn't have to pay for that either. Rush Limbaugh drinks wine and alcohol causes liver damage, so I don't want to pay for him to drink. Finally, Rush Limbaugh is fat, so my insurance premiums are subsidizing his over-eating. This is entirely unfair.
This leaves one of two options, as far as I can tell. Either insurers must deny coverage to people who behave in ways similar to Rush Limbaugh so that the rest of us don't have to subsidize their behavior with our insurance premiums or people must be charged insurance rates according to their behaviors, in which case, insurance companies will need to know virtually everything about a person's life in order to properly charge them for health insurance. As I think virtually everyone on the planet would oppose being scrutinized by insurance companies this way, only the first option makes any sense. Thus, the following people should be ineligible for health insurance:
- Fat people
- Divorced folks
- Old men who can't get it up
- People with pre-existing conditions contracted as the result of a behavioral choice
- Fast drivers (more likely to have an accident)
- Rush Limbaugh
There are obviously many other people who will need to be denied health insurance like people who keep squirrels as pets and those who eat disgusting foods like zucchini. Regardless, it should be abundantly clear to any logical human being that Rush Limbaugh, and anybody who behaves like him, should not be allowed to have health insurance.
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