In the heady days of 2010, when President Obama’s signature healthcare overhaul was still being intensely fought over, conservative shockjock Rush Limbaugh promised he would leave the country if the bill was fully implemented and still around in five years. That was just over five years ago. In other words: See you later, Rush! It’s been… interesting…
Limbaugh hasn’t made any mention about his promise, but if there was any hope that he would get his wish and watch Obamacare get repealed before his deadline, that was blown out of the water recently with the Supreme Court ruling to uphold the healthcare exchanges that were crucial to the legislation’s existence. As many Republican politicians realized with growing terror, this was their very last shot to quickly and easily kill the bill. They are stuck with it, and Americans can finally breathe a collective sigh of relief that their health insurance isn’t going anywhere in the near future.
But 2010’s Limbaugh was still caught in the anti-Obamacare right-wing fervor and during one of his doom-and-gloom predictions, he claimed that the healthcare law would make America such a nightmare by 2015 that he would flee the country and head to Costa Rica:
“My guess in even in Canada and even in the UK, doctors have opted out. And once they’ve opted, they can’t see anybody Medicare, Medicaid, or what will become the exchanges. They have to have a clientele of private patients that will pay them a retainer and it’ll be a very small practice. I don’t know if that’s been outlawed in the Senate bill. I don’t know. I’ll just tell you this, if this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented — I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica.”
Media Matters captured the promise in 2010, where it has been hanging like a millstone around Limbaugh’s neck ever since.
It’s unclear why Limbaugh decided on Costa Rica specifically, and in fact, there are several reasons why that country is an exceptionally bad choice for someone hoping to prove a point about libertarian values like Rush – most notably being that Costa Rica has universal healthcare, too.
Limbaugh doesn’t seem to be making good on his promise any time soon (probably because spouting out hate-filled rhetoric on the radio pays him so well). He might argue that he only meant he would leave if all of his worst predictions came true, but that’s kind of the point. Limbaugh spent years painting Obama and the ACA as a slow-moving disaster about to hit the United States and everyone in it. Instead, absolutely none of his nightmare scenarios came to pass. With the law now fully implemented and working, by many accounts, even better than predicted, people like Rush Limbaugh (and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann and so on) look like at best idiots and at worst liars of the lowest level.
There were no death panels. No medicine rationing. No mass exodus of doctors. No skyrocketing premiums. Just millions more with (affordable) health insurance and healthcare costs seeing lower yearly increases than 2010 Limbaugh could have possibly imagined in that ignorant mind of his.
Limbaugh’s promise – and I sincerely hope he makes good on this, my apologies in advanced to any Costa Ricans out there – is an awkward reminder that the anti-Obamacare frenzy now looks so overblown and wrongheaded as to be laughable. We should remember these moments the next time conservative ideologues make hyperbolic warnings about a “scary” new policy that the Democrats are proposing. They were so sure – and so very wrong.
And in the meantime, I’d like to extend a personal offer to Rush: I’ll clear my schedule to help you pack your bags at your earliest convenience. Call me.
Feature image screengrab via petervilbig