William Hamilton – Health choices: Will Big Brother get to decide?
August 25, 2009
If “brevity is the soul of wit,” then this brief summation of ObamaCare (H.R. 3200) should cause laughing out loud: Let’s get this straight. Obama wants to sign a health-care plan written by a committee whose head says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that hasn’t read it, signed by a president who smokes, funded by a treasury chief who did not pay his taxes, overseen by a surgeon general who is obese, and financed by a country that is broke. What could possibly go wrong?
But with over 83-percent of Americans reasonably satisfied with being able to choose their own physicians and satisfied with being able to be treated without life-threatening delays, doing away with those important elements of the current health-care system doesn’t seem all that funny; especially when improvements can be made to our current health-care system without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Darn. Another cliche. As author Stu Burguiere says, “Cliches are the worst things since sliced bread.”
Speaking of word usage, the opponents of socialized medicine don’t seem to Get it. We have let the Obamagician’s speech writer, David Axelrod, frame the debate in terms of: “health care reform.” Who can be against “health?” Or, “care?” Or, “reform?”
Instead of talking about socialized medicine, the Obamagician talks about the “public” option which, in truth, is the “government” option. Dr. Frank Luntz, the author of Words That Work, points out that the public is often suspicious of “government.” But the public is not likely to be suspicious of, well – the public. Falling into these kinds of word traps could be why the GOP is sometimes referred to as the stupid party.
This brings to mind George Orwell’s 1949 classic: Nineteen Eighty-Four and its most chilling bureaucracy, the Ministry of Truth. As described in the Wikipedia: “The Ministry of Truth is involved with news media, entertainment, the fine arts and educational books. Its purpose is to rewrite history and change the facts to fit party doctrine, for propaganda effect. For example, if Big Brother makes a prediction that turns out to be wrong, the employees of the Ministry of Truth go back and rewrite history so that any prediction Big Brother previously made is accurate. This is the how of the Ministry of Truth’s existence. Within the novel Orwell elaborates that the deeper reason for its existence is to maintain the illusion that the party is absolute. It cannot ever seem to change its mind (if, for instance, they perform one of their constant changes regarding enemies during war) or make a mistake (firing an official or making a grossly misjudged supply prediction), for that would imply weakness and to maintain power the party must seem eternally right and strong.”
Speaking of “enemies during war,” whatever happened to the Code Pink protests of the presence of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? To paraphrase George Orwell’s 1945 classic, Animal Farm, it appears that wars waged by the current president are better than wars waged by previous presidents. Or, is that just media-establishment spin?
After he learned that the late Walter Cronkite was a closet Democrat eager to run as vice-president on the 1972 Democrat presidential ticket, University of Virginia Professor Larry Sabato wrote: “many of these reporters and anchors have become millionaire celebrities, part of the semi-permanent floating establishment they are supposed to check. How often do they succumb to the temptation to use their fame and position to gain access as the social equals of those elected officials?”
Speaking of equals, the very first line of H.R. 3200 (ObamaCare) exempts Congress from its provisions. Could it be that some health-care plans are more equal than others? But don’t worry. Big Brother, the Health Choices Administration to be created by H.R. 3200, will decide what is best for you and your family.
– William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist and a featured commentator for USA Today, studied at Harvard’s JFK School of Government. Dr. Hamilton is a former assistant professor of political science and history at Nebraska Wesleyan University.
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