Penn Jillette and John Stossel Slam Socialized Medicine on FNC

On the Thursday, July 16, Glenn Beck Program on FNC, magician Penn Jillette and ABC’s 20/20 anchor John Stossel – both self-described libertarians – appeared as guests to talk about health care reform. Stossel used the time to preview his upcoming segment on the problems with socialized medicine in Canada, which will air on a future episode of 20/20. Stossel informed viewers of Canada's shortage of doctors: "What stuck most with me was the town that had a lottery. So many people are waiting to get a family doctor, they can't get one. Once a month, the town clerk pulls names out of a box and he calls the lucky winners – congratulations, now you can have a family doctor." FNC later played a clip from the upcoming segment in which the 20/20 anchor talks about a privately run veterinary hospital in Canada which provides medical care for animals much more quickly than humans can receive similar care from the government-run system.

After Jillette, who co-hosts the show, Penn and Teller: B.S., on Showtime, argued that too much health insurance reduces price competition and leads to higher prices, Stossel complained that the plans promoted by politicians, by increasing the amount of insurance, would make matters worse: "As Penn said, is if you had grocery insurance, you wouldn't care, and the grocery store, and the incentives that creates to spend more are just insane. And that's the problem with health care, and yet, the politicians say the solutions are always more insurance."

Jillette soon complained that too much socialized medicine already exists in America – in the form of Medicaid and Medicare – and touted individual choice:

Well, one of the things is all this pretending that we're going towards socialized medicine. We're not going towards it. We're already there. And one of the problems is that people are pretty happy with Medicaid and Medicare, and I'm not. I think that morally, philosophically, individuals having more choice and more control over what they do is a really good thing. So I'm afraid that I'm in the really nut position, I would like to get insurance away from the employers. I don't know why your boss has to be in charge of your insurance. It should be the individuals who travel with them.

Soon came the clip from 20/20 showing the private animal hospital in Canada which functions more quickly than government-run health care for humans:

JOHN STOSSEL: You want innovation and fast treatment? That often comes from people pursuing profit. And you see that in Canada, because even here, there is one area where they do offer easy access to cutting-edge technology.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: CT scan, endoscopy, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy and arthroscopic procedures to evaluate joints, for cartilage abnormality.

STOSSEL: Available all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Twenty-four hours, seven days a week.

STOSSEL: Patients rarely wait.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I see a patient that's torn cruciate ligament in that patient's knee, we can generally have that patient scheduled within probably a week.

STOSSEL: But you have to bark or meow to get that kind of treatment. Want a CT scan in Canada? Private vet clinics say they can get a dog in the next day. For people, the waiting list is a month.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Thursday, July 16, Glenn Beck Program on FNC:

GLENN BECK: Hello, America. I mean, look, I'm about losing my voice, but I've got my little messiah here, my "dashboard Obama." I'm going to pray to him later, maybe get some universal health care. I hope you're ready for this universal health care thing. This is going to be great. Lawmakers keep telling us how much better countries like Britain and Canada and France, and how much the people love it there. Tonight, here’s "The One Thing" that nobody on television is going to tell you about health care. America's health care is better than Europe's. Critics of our current system love to vilify the evil private corporations. They talk all the time: Nobody has health insurance here! Really? How many times have you run over the person in the street that's got cancer just trying to crawl their way to some sort of help? They're in the hospital.

You know, oh, all they care about is the bottom line. You know, the funny thing is, when there's a bottom line, the quality tends to improve, and the line you stand in gets a little shorter. I mean, let's please use some common sense on this one. Which one is better, when I say, hey, we're going to send your kids to a private school, or we're going to send your kids to a public school? Which one? Hey, where's the bathroom? Oh, the private bathroom is over there. The public bathroom is over there. Which one are you going to? Private health care or public health care?

Obviously, private is better. We know this. But for those who have been brainwashed by the pinheads in Washington, here are just a few ways in which our health care system is vastly superior to those "oh, so forward-thinking" progressive countries where apparently we're so desperate to emulate.

Americans have a better survival rate for 13 of the 16 most common cancers than Europe. Take prostate cancer – 91.9 percent of men here in America live through it. If you have prostate cancer in Europe – oh, it's going to stink on ice – 73.7 percent in France survive; and God forbid you're in Great Britain where 51.1 percent in Britain survive. Or, every year, Britain's National Health Service cancels 100,000 operations.

Okay, let's just play this out in our minds. You're, like, freaking out, "I got to have surgery tomorrow, I hope I don't die or they take the wrong leg." And what happens? Right before you go, hello? Yeah, we got to cancel the procedure. Wait a minute? What?

You don't want to have some bureaucratic bone head who is only counting dollars and cents, and you certainly don't want to be standing in a long line like the one million Brits currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital, and another 200,000 just hoping, "Oh, please, I can't wait to get on that waiting list."

We get annoyed here in America when it takes us 45 minutes to see a doctor, but at least we get to see one at the end of the 45 minutes. Are we really going to listen and follow in the footsteps of Europe? I mean, how many times do they have to goose step before we're like, "We shouldn't listen to you, guys"?

The place that gets a little bit hotter than usual, sometimes in the summer like it did in 2003, I love this in Europe, when it gets a little hot, I don't know if they're trying to save the planet and so they don't have a lot of energy over there or whatever it is, but do you remember in 2003, it was a lot hotter and people were like, "Oh, my goodness, it's hot"? We turn up the air-conditioner. Over in Europe, 37,000 people died.

Statistics show it's even worse in Canada: 800,000 of their 33 million citizens are on waiting lists for more than 18 weeks. That is twice as long as the blessed doctors in Canada consider clinically reasonable.

Let me put this into perspective. That's like having every single person in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle -- over seven million Americans would all be on waiting lists. What are we doing?

Why is this happening in Canada? Simple. Doctor shortages. Apparently, Canadian medical school graduates just don't want to make 42 percent of what ours do, and they don't want to work with all the bureaucracy. So what do they do? They come to America.

What else is coming to America? How about the tens of thousands of patients a year, including the prime minister of Italy? If socialized medicine is so great, let me ask the prime minister: Why did you come here? In 2006, why did you have your heart surgery at America's Cleveland clinic instead of staying at home with your social – did you know it's free over there?

Before we trash our current system – and New York State heaped nearly a 60 percent tax on the rich to pay for health care. Just put this in perspective. You're making $1. This is what you keep – I'm sorry – this is what goes there. This is what you keep and you can spend.

I mean, shouldn't we ask ourselves who in this country is going to innovate? Who, you know, greed is a bad thing, but a little bit of a greed is a good thing. Somebody saying, "Gee, wait a minute, if I fix that, I could get rich. I got an idea, why don't I fix that?"

Wake up, America. This is turning into a country I don't even recognize anymore. Our grandparents left Europe. They packed up everything that they owned. They left family and friends behind.

They got onto ships and they came here to America to dream, to be free. They came to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit. They didn't come here, they didn't risk everything, work their butts off only to have our dopey politicians in Washington say, "You know, the mother country was pretty great."

Our government is giving them the very government programs they were running from. Wake up.

Here’s comedian and magician, libertarian Penn Jillette. The show Penn and Teller, B.S. is on Showtime tonight at 10:00 p.m. And the co-anchor of ABC's 20/20, John Stossel. Don't miss his upcoming segment on Canada. Is it a special or a segment?

JOHN STOSSEL, ABC NEWS 20/20: A segment, unfortunately. Just a segment.

BECK: Just a segment. Well, I mean, you know, you got the whole prime time, you can carve out maybe a couple of minutes for-

PENN JILLETTE, PENN AND TELLER, B.S.: You know, we've talked about doing a whole lot, a whole show on B.S. on Canada, so be ready for that.

BECK: What about Canada? I don't have a problem with Canada!

(EVERYONE LAUGHS)

BECK: Canada doesn't exist! What is that? I mean, so, John, let me start with you. Let's start with Canada, the Canadian health care. I am so tired of hearing, because I grew up right across the border, in Bellingham, Washington. I know the people, they built a special part of the hospital just for all the people coming in across the border to escape Canadian health care. Tell me what you found out in Canada.

STOSSEL: What stuck most with me was the town that had a lottery. So many people are waiting to get a family doctor, they can't get one. Once a month, the town clerk pulls names out of a box and he calls the lucky winners – congratulations, now you can have a family doctor.

BECK: Right, right. Penn, insurance really is, I think, the problem, because it, we have no restraint. We have no restraint whatsoever.

JILLETTE: Well, you can also, yeah. If you have, if you have food insurance, there's nothing but gourmet shops. But what we have is not really insurance, what we have is prepaid. And that's a very big difference. If you had it so that people could get real, honest catastrophic coverage, so they were really covered if they lost a lot of money, had a catastrophic event, but still had control over what they were paying on a smaller level, at least someone who was consuming the service would have some control over the payment. It’s when it gets really far away from individuals, it seems like a bad thing.

BECK: Well, I don't know either one of you guys if you've ever had this happen to you before, but I know I've sat in a doctor's office, and he'll say, "What kind of insurance do you have?" He'll be writing a prescription, "What kind of insurance do you have?" I'll say, you know, whatever. "Hmm, I'll tell you what, I'm going to give you this instead." They make different choices based on if somebody else is paying for it. And if you're insured and you're fully insured, you don't care.

STOSSEL: As Penn said, is if you had grocery insurance, you wouldn't care and the grocery store, and the incentives that creates to spend more are just insane. And that's the problem with health care, and yet, the politicians say the solutions are always more insurance.

BECK: Right. And I think, I don't know about you guys, I'm sure – once again, there are three – put all three of us up. There are three libertarians on television, at once. It's like, this is their convention right now.

(JILLETTE LAUGHS)

BECK: When you, when we talk about-

STOSSEL: Judge Andrew Napolitano is number four.

BECK: I know. He's upstairs. He's watching and going, "Oh, this is erotic."

(EVERYONE LAUGHS)

BECK: The thing about, the other argument that people always have is, "Well, then, what are you going to do to fix it? What are you going to do to fix it?" First of all, I’d give people, I’d put people in charge of their own medical care, and then I also cap the attorneys because the other reason why nobody seems to care is that the doctor is under so much pressure to not get sued that he'll do absolutely every test because he doesn't want somebody to say, "Well, why didn't you do that test?"

STOSSEL: It's safer to do a thousand tests when somebody else is paying, so they do many more. I don't know that capping is all that fair, or that libertarian, if somebody behaves truly egregiously, maybe a trial lawyer should punish the heck out of them.

BECK: Well, okay, how about this?

STOSSEL: How about saying the loser pays?

BECK: Absolutely. How about that?

STOSSEL: Reduce the number of suits.

BECK: Right. If you have, if you are putting, if the person that comes and brings this ridiculous lawsuit loses, they pay for it, I'm all for it.

STOSSEL: And then the parasite class can't just go suing everybody-

BECK: Right.

STOSSEL: -for bad reasons and when they're proven wrong, they don't even have to say they're sorry.

BECK: So, Penn, how would you fix health care?

JILLETTE: Well, one of the things is all this pretending that we're going towards socialized medicine. We're not going towards it. We're already there.

BECK: Right.

JILLETTE: And one of the problems is that people are pretty happy with Medicaid and Medicare, and I'm not. I think that morally, philosophically, individuals having more choice and more control over what they do is a really good thing. So I'm afraid that I'm in the really nut position, I would like to get insurance away from the employers. I don't know why your boss has to be in charge of your insurance. It should be the individuals who travel with them. And that was only put in, as I understand it, during World War II. It was a work around on wage freezes to be able to give people more stuff. Stop the employer from being in charge of that and make it individuals. Your employer is not in charge of what you eat, and eating is as important as medical care.

BECK: Right. Here's the deal in New York, because I'm a small business owner and I have 20 employees, I can't go out and buy a, be part of a plan in the entire country. I can't get a big group plan, but the government can, but they restrict insurance companies from putting a big huge group in. So it's costing me an arm and a leg. And it's worse in New York than I bet anyplace else.

STOSSEL: And it's illegal for you to buy a policy in New Jersey State where they may have fewer stupid rules.

BECK: Right.

STOSSEL: So your policy costs more.

BECK: Exactly right. By the way, I want to show you a little bit of John Stossel's upcoming segment on health care in Canada and Great Britain. Watch this:

STOSSEL: You want innovation and fast treatment? That often comes from people pursuing profit. And you see that in Canada, because even here, there is one area where they do offer easy access to cutting-edge technology.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: CT scan, endoscopy, thoracoscopy, laparoscopy and arthroscopic procedures to evaluate joints, for cartilage abnormality.

STOSSEL: Available all the time.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Twenty-four hours, seven days a week.

STOSSEL: Patients rarely wait.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I see a patient that’s torn cruciate ligament in that patient's knee, we can generally have that patient scheduled within probably a week.

STOSSEL: But you have to bark or meow to get that kind of treatment. Want a CT scan in Canada? Private vet clinics say they can get a dog in the next day. For people, the waiting list is a month.

BECK: Unbelievable. It's absolutely unbelievable. Let me ask you both this question, and, Penn, you said a minute ago that, you know, health care went to the employers back in the 1940s. I went back and I played on the radio show today, a fireside chat by FDR, where he talked about the second Bill of Rights. Are you guys familiar with his second Bill of Rights? Yeah, I'm going to play it on television because there's video of it as well. It's practically been erased from our history books. He talked about there was a right to a job, and he actually wanted to change, put this into the Constitution, "right to a job, a right to a house, and a right to health care." It was rejected, but if you look at things, he did put the beginnings of health care. He did put the beginnings of, you're never going to have to worry about it with Social Security. He put the beginnings of a right to a house. Right now, about 60 percent of houses are owned by Freddie and Fannie. And what does Obama do? He says, by the way, we'll just buy your house. If you're going to collapse, if you're going, we'll just buy it and then you can rent from us. My gosh, our country is being transformed into something that is nothing like what our Founding Fathers laid out. True or false?

STOSSEL: It's certainly going in that direction. I think, today, that platform would win. It's people, it sounds good. Yeah, I have a right to a house, I have a right to health care, it's a rich country.

BECK: You don’t when you don't work for it.

STOSSEL: Sounds good to people. Well, we have to explain that to people that if you want good houses and good health care, all the innovation comes from that evil capitalism.

BECK: I know, I know. Okay, let me, go ahead, go ahead, real quick.

JILLETTE: I was going to say, but you always talk about the ambitious people are the ones who want to work hard. You should also stick up for the lazy people. Capitalism allows people to do just enough to get by and not have the government tell them what to do.

BECK: Let me tell you something.

JILLETTE: And that's also a reasonable life choice. And capitalism allows that.