If only Rush had said…

Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM 600, Friday, March 5, 2012.

Rush Limbaugh made a tactical mistake. A big one.

If you are not familiar with the story, last week on his radio program heard on KTBB and on about 600 other radio stations in the U.S., Rush talked about a woman at Georgetown University named Sandra Fluke. Ms. Fluke is a third-year law student and she was invited by Democrats to testify before a congressional committee on the subject of requiring under federal law that employers, including religious organizations, provide contraceptives under their health plans at no out-of-pocket cost to the employee.

Ms. Fluke said that in the three years she has been at Georgetown, contraception has cost her approximately $3,000. She went on to say that such cost is a burden she finds unbearable.

Rush pointed out that a thousand dollars is a much greater sum than adequate contraception should cost in a single year. He went on to riff on the idea that if contraception is truly costing Ms. Fluke so much money, she must be having so much sex as to be a “round heels,” a “slut” and a “prostitute.”

It was in those characterizations that Rush committed an egregious and totally unforced error. He took a young woman who is by all appearances either naïve at best or a whining, spoiled and entitled student at an elite university at worst, and turned her into a celebrated victim of right wing hatred and misogyny.

Rush, by his ham-handedness, turned the event of Ms. Fluke’s testimony before Congress into a wasted opportunity to expose the folly of limitless entitlement.

So Rush, here’s what I say and what you should have said.

I reject not only the premise that health plans should be required by law to cover contraception, I reject the premise that health plans should be required by law to do anything at all. A health plan has historically been and should continue to be a part or not a part of the relationship between employer and employee upon agreement freely reached between the parties.

The very fact that some third party, be it an employer provided health plan or a government program such as Medicare, actually issues the payment for the vast majority of health services in the United States is a huge reason that costs for such services are going up at many multiples of the rate of inflation.

The price sensitivity that consumers display when buying everything from food to gasoline to flat screen TVs is absent in the majority of health care transactions. Costs have predictably exploded. (See an earlier post on this point here.)

Mandating coverage by federal law for services down to those that are within the financial grasp of virtually anyone earning any income at all (read: birth control pills) will only make the problem worse.

What you should have said, Rush, rather than calling Ms. Fluke a slut, is that the very idea of an employer health plan was the product of another market distortion created by the federal government. Wage and price controls that were put in place during World War II forced employers competing for talent to devise an alternative to wages as a means of compensation. Thus was born the employer-paid health plan.

As health plans have expanded and as the government’s role has expanded to the point of today paying more than half of all health service costs in the country, the prices for those services have escalated beyond the capacity for even middle class consumers to pay.

Thus, many believe that the only answer is a full-blown takeover of the industry by the government, as in Great Britain – even as Great Britain is coming to realize that its National Health Service is unaffordable even under the most optimistic economic conditions.

Lastly, Rush, rather than tastelessly assail  Ms. Fluke’s character, you should have asked her this.

“Ms. Fluke, if you are unwilling to assume the responsibility for even a very nominal cost attendant to the care of your own body, even if as you say the contraceptives you seek are for the treatment of a medical condition rather than for the purpose of consequence-free sex, then for what are you willing to accept responsibility?

“To the extent that we do for you, Ms. Fluke, you will not do for yourself. And it is the millions upon millions upon millions of discreet, individual instances of free people doing for themselves that made the United States the wealthiest, freest and most successful country in all of history.

“To the extent that you provide for yourself, Ms. Fluke, rather than demand that Congress pass a law requiring that the country provide for you, you will be freer, happier and very likely healthier.”

That’s what Rush should have said.

As the owner of a radio station that carries his program, I devoutly wish today that he had.



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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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4 Responses

  1. Linda E. Montrose says:

    First off, NO ONE owes anyone anything other than the chance to DO FOR THEMSELVES. I do not owe ms. fluke contraceptives or anything else concerning her body. THAT is HER responsibility! Ms. fluke is just another of those brainwashed liberals that thinks the world owes them a living. SHE chose the school and was fully aware of their policies. She should abide by them since SHE chose to go there despite knowing what their policies were. NO ONE FORCED her to go to that school. If she is having a hard time paying for her birth control, there is such a thing as making a BUDGET and sticking with it. OR she can forgo sex while in school. NO ONE EVER paid for my birth control and I never expected anyone to do so. It was MY responsibility to furnish my birth control.
    We are reaping the results of all those feel good laws that were allowed to pass…starting with welfare! We have been reduced to the fluke’s of the world…TAKERS. Folks, it may surprise you, but there are FAR MORE TAKERS than there are givers to pay for what is taken. At some point we are going to HAVE to stand up and say ENOUGH is ENOUGH!

  2. L Miles says:

    Ms. Fluke is 30 years old and has been an activist for years for free contraceptives in a Catholic University that has religious objections to this type of mandated insurance coverage. The Queen of Welfare, the Socialist Jezebel of the Democrat House, House Democrat minority leader Nancy Pelosi has found a pretty woman to champion her cause. Ms. Fluke is not a young, mislead, college air-head. She is on a mission to add just one more welfare entitlement to our overwhelming debt. Queen Pelosi is trying to paint the religious conscience issue as a woman’s health care issue. This LIE makes my head explode!

    This 30 year old mature woman law school student cannot be shamed into accepting responsibility for her life style and her expectations of entitlement. She is a member of the well funded Socialist robber barons that are determined to take income from the productive hard working American citizen in order to subsidize the financial destruction of this nation by an unending stream of welfare benefits.

    When did living a virtuous life become a sin and living a debauched life become a virtue? By debauched, I mean the habitual life style that DEMANDS you and me pay for medical treatment to avoid the consequences of a simple violation of the well established moral laws of nature. Medical insurance is supposed to address legitimate illness and or disease, not voluntary life style induced inconveniences. If I have a hangover, is my medical insurance expected to pay me for a day that is missed at work?

    This condemnation of Rush’s comments is POLITICAL CORRECTNESS on steroids! He is simply stating in rough language the words of John Adams: “Avarice, ambition, revenge and licentiousness would break the strongest cords of our Constitution, as a whale goes through a net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”


    Queen Pelosi has racked up a temporary victory given the national outrage of the left-wing in this country over Rush’s comments. It is hypocrisy raised to the power of infinity. Where was the outrage of these devils as Sarah Palin (a virtuous woman) was crucified with defamatory hate speech that was spread all over the media? The virulent members of the Left are without a conscience and are minions from the pits of Hell, which if left unchallenged will bring damnation to this country.

    I would like to hope that “Patton’s REAL Americans” have the common sense to see through this new BIG LIE. A coward is still a coward, a liar is still a liar, and a leach is still a leach.

  3. taylor says:

    um , if we started using tax money to lower the price of birth control then we would lower the abortion rate. there is way more tax dollar being spent on taking care of the poor. its so obvious why the economy is so bad. there are to many people, not enough jobs…..

    rush was also addicted to oxycotton. he is a blabbering rascist idiot. his words have no crediability.

    quit trying to think so in depth about things , instead the obvious truth.

    there is nothing naive or whinning about practicing your rights as an american.

  4. Katy LeMonds says:

    The worst part that I see .Is that the advertisers and your station would listen to the complaints and outrage of the said people Rush offended. Just another example the gripers get what they want.And people (owners,advertisers )fold.

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