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Jewish World Review
August 13, 2009
/ 23 Menachem-Av 5769
The Health Care Chaos
Allow me a word of encouragement to our president.
Mr. Obama, you are doing just fine. You wanted to set a new tone in
Washington, and you have. You wanted an open debate on health care, and you
have it. Admittedly, the tone is astoundingly rancorous, and not
incidentally, your approval ratings continue to decline. Then, too, support
for your health care reform is dropping, especially among independents. Yet
I believe you can take heart. You have roused the interest of the American
people in you, the Democratic Party, the Congress and health care. That is
good news, at least for us conservatives. Again, you are doing fine.
Ever-larger numbers of Americans are alarmed by you, your party, the
Congress and your health care monstrosity. Mr. President, you are doing
fine. Keep it up. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.
Truth be known, what else were we to expect from the new
administration? In the Senate, our president was the most left-wing member
by a lot. That is a fact, clearly visible to those who followed his voting
record. He was also the least experienced major-party presidential candidate
in more than a century. As for his experience before he entered upon his
brief political career, he never was in the private sector, where he might
have gained knowledge about profit margins, the difficulty of maintaining a
work force, or the burden of even a slight tax increase. His sole experience
has been a fleeting period teaching law and the anomalous experience of
being a community organizer, that is to say, a rabble-rouser who organizes
needy people to pester governments and corporations for cash or services.
This campaign for health care reform has been an ongoing chaos.
From all I have been able to tell, the Obama White House is a chaos, too.
The other day, I heard of a highly placed White House staffer, with
glittering credentials, who sits in a cubicle answering 300-400 urgent
e-mails a day. That only reinforces the reports that this White House is
nearing a state of "burnout." The word circulating about the Democrats is
that they are "desperate" over the state of the Obama health care plan. They
have reason to be, and my guess is that things will get much worse.
Democrats, what were you thinking of when you nominated the most left-wing
and inexperienced candidate in the 2008 Democratic field?
Out on the campaign trail, where the Prophet Obama is thumping
for health care reform, he should be very much at ease. Campaigning is the
one aspect of politics he does well. But here, too, we see desperation. The
other day, he accused his critics of engaging in "scare tactics." He objects
to their claim that the bill is exorbitant, though that claim is reinforced
by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which puts the price tag at
more than $1 trillion. He says he will shave off $500 billion from that sum
by cutting waste, fraud and abuse, though the CBO estimates the savings at
only 1 percent of the trillion-dollar cost increase. He says his reforms
will not fall heavily on the elderly or the disabled, though his own health
care advisers have written that reforms (SET ITAL) should (END ITAL) fall
heavily on these groups. We can quote them. Call it scare tactics if you
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel who is the health-policy adviser at the
White House Office of Management and Budget and a member of the Federal
Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research, as well as
White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel's brother propounds
discrimination against the elderly and other less-than-robust patients. In
the medical journal The Lancet, he wrote in January: "Unlike allocation by
sex or race, allocation by age is not invidious (an irrelevancy)
discrimination; every person lives through different life stages rather than
being a single age. Even if 25-year-olds receive priority over 65-year-olds,
everyone who is 65 years now was previously 25 years." As for the
less-than-robust, in The Hastings Center Report, he has written that medical
care should be withheld from those "who are irreversibly prevented from
being or becoming participating citizens. ... An obvious example is not
guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia." Thus, the state
should decide when and whether you get treatment. Does that not have a
grisly ring to it?
Dr. Emanuel veers from the grisly to the delightfully frivolous
in his pontifications on cost cuts. Savor this one, from the Journal of the
American Medical Association in May 2007: "Too much money spent on health
care reduced the ability to obtain other essentials of human life as well as
some goods and services not essential to life but still of great value, such
as education, vacations, and the arts." Yes, he said "vacations and the
arts." So once we have Obamacare and you are sitting around waiting for a
hip replacement or a CT scan, remember that tax revenues are being better
spent on vacations or perhaps the performance art of that lady who smothers
chocolate on her naked body.
On second thought, she may be sitting nearby
also awaiting a hip replacement. Remember, chocolate stains.
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© 2008, Creators Syndicate