Dr. Kevorkian, precursor of Independent Payment Advisory Board
John Dryden wrote, “Beware the fury of a patient man.” I hadn’t thought about this quotation for a while. But the other night, I was surfing the Internet for information on ObamaCare, now that hope of repealing it has faded. The health-care law was advertised as covering the uninsured, while leaving untouched those who are satisfied with their insurance − and saving money as well.
In fact, eventually private health insurance will end, which is President Obama’s plan. Costs will be overwhelming, though estimates are still uncertain. In fact, no one knows what ObamaCare will cost. The bill consists of 2400 pages of dense legalese, plus many thousands of pages of regulations yet to be written.
● What is certain is that, like Medicare, it is sure to cost much more than early estimates.
● What is certain is that much of what is said about the law cannot be trusted.
● What is certain is that the government will seize control of another one-sixth of the economy.
● What is certain is that if the government pays for our health care, it will control our health care − and become even more intrusive.
● What is certain is that those who understand that the Constitution gives the federal government only certain enumerated powers are suspicious and resentful.
● What is certain is that Sarah Palin was ridiculed as a moron for talking about “death panels.” But what would you call a 15-member commission that decides what treatments can – and cannot – be given to all ObamaCare patients, not just Medicare patients? What would you call a commission whose members cannot be removed or overridden except with great difficulty? Call it “Dancing with Kevorkian” if you like. It’s not the name that’s frightening – it’s the unrestrained power of life and death over 314 million Americans that scares me.
But if our health-care system is “broken,” why does America have the best cancer survival statistics? Britain’s National Health Service, with its waiting times and rationed care, produces much lower cancer survival. And why is America responsible for the majority of advances in health care and over 60% of the Nobel Prizes in Medicine? So as I went to bed, I was troubled by the thought that instead of improving our current system, ObamaCare will alter it drastically − based on erroneous assumptions.
I tried to sleep, but I was disturbed by Obama’s view of surgery for the elderly: “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking the painkiller.” I was troubled by Obama’s opinion of cardiac pacemakers for the elderly: “If we’ve got experts that are advising doctors across the board that it will save money…” And then, even the pain medication can be eliminated. Have a nice day.
Of course, to save even more money, everyone should die soon after they start receiving Social Security and Medicare. So I slept fitfully, aware that under ObamaCare, my prospects for a long sleep are excellent. Bureaucrats call it “cost-effectiveness” and “quality of life” assessment. Of course, the quality of your life will be assessed not by you or your loved ones, but by unelected bureaucrats who never laid eyes on you.
But then I began to dream. People were sitting around a table.
● There was a retired Army officer who had served in Desert Storm. He had prostate cancer, but because of his age, he was offered only “watchful waiting,” not curative treatment. He managed to control his famous temper, but he could not hide his leadership abilities.
● There was a lean man with gray, crew-cut hair. He had been a Marine sniper in Vietnam, but now he had a neurologic disease. Medication was relieving his symptoms, until bureaucrats decided that it was not “cost effective.” The gunny now walked with a cane, but his eyes hinted that he was not a man to cross.
● There was a computer expert who had a lymphoma. He hoped for a cure, but he feared that medical research would be slowed by oppressive regulations and removal of the profit motive. At least half of the increases in health-care spending results from medical innovations, so cutting spending will necessarily reduce innovation. Because of his work, he was able to hack into government computer systems.
● There was a woman who was a prosecuting attorney. She wondered whether her elderly father would continue to receive proper care. She did not understand how people could be so softhearted that they couldn’t bear to execute brutal murderers, yet also be so hardhearted that they remained silent when their president proposed leaving the elderly with broken hips and no pacemakers. Because of her work, she had friends in law enforcement.
● There was a nurse whose mother had a stroke and required a feeding tube. The old lady enjoyed visits with her daughter, but she needed the tube to avoid choking on food. Then an anonymous committee decided that her “poor quality of life” required removal of the tube, so she would die slowly of dehydration and starvation over a week or two. Of course, the committee asked neither the patient nor her daughter their opinion of the now-standard Schiavo Treatment. Because of her work, the nurse had access to drugs.
● There was a construction contractor whose older brother had broken his hip. But instead of surgery to repair it and allow him to spend his later years walking, remote bureaucrats offered only pain pills. Of course, the bureaucrats asked neither the contractor nor his brother their opinion of the now-standard Obama Treatment. Because of his work, the contractor had access to heavy equipment.
● There was a young woman whose grandfather was on Social Security. He received government-mandated “counseling,” advising him of his “option” not to get medical treatment in order to save the government money. This made the old gentleman feel useless, so he killed himself and saved the government even more money. His granddaughter had access to no weapons − except her deep anger, which is the most dangerous weapon of all.
The retired Army officer led the discussion. He had seen too many comrades killed by enemy guns; he was unwilling to see more killed by bureaucrats’ pencils. He finally lost his temper when he learned that the government was preparing a comic book to teach people about ObamaCare. He did not appreciate being taken for a fool. He was willing to undergo hardships and suffer wounds, but not to be disrespected.
Everyone contributed ideas on how to overcome the destructive effects of ObamaCare. But no one could think of nonviolent methods to undo a system that had become entrenched. After attempts to repeal ObamaCare failed, people became addicted to it − and felt entitled to it.
Even attempts to defund ObamaCare were unsuccessful, because it was discovered that the law is self-funding − that is, $105 billion will be spent annually without Congress appropriating another penny. As then-Speaker Pelosi said, we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it.
But instead of a piñata, it turned out to be a time bomb.
No one could think of nonviolent methods to dismantle the vast bureaucracy that had grown like a cancer, infiltrating almost every aspect of society, while masking its deadly intentions in the camouflage of “health” and “fairness.”
No one could think of nonviolent methods to convince sheep-like people to give up their passivity, even when they were being led to the slaughter.
No one could think of nonviolent methods to convince the “elite” to give up their privileged status, and their prompt access to first-rate medical care without waiting in line with us “common” people.
So the discussion turned to other methods. No one around the table was willing to sit idly while they and their loved ones were bureaucratized to death. But as plans were being formulated, I woke up.
Unexpectedly, I awoke with a smile on my face. There still was hope. Despite the socialist, statist daydreams of the self-anointed “elite,” many Americans are still individualists.
People like that are unlikely to remain submissive as they watch the lives of their loved ones and themselves being sacrificed to the arbitrary rulings of paper-shuffling bureaucrats, penny-wise accountants, and power-hungry politicians.
People like that are unlikely to remain passive as control of their health care is seized by intrusive incompetents who couldn’t even run a simple program like “cash for clunkers,” much less keep Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac from going broke.
Leftists talk endlessly about “the people,” by which they mean “the masses.” They assume that Americans are like Europeans − used to being ruled by a strong central government, and unused to taking responsibility for defending themselves and their families.
But Americans, even the disabled and the elderly, will not line up on railroad platforms to be taken away in box cars, either literally or figuratively. If politicians declare them to be “useless eaters” and “unworthy of life,” they just might return the favor. It is unwise to give such people the idea that they have nothing to lose.
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