First, though, for some balance, one doctor's take on this health-care plan, which is being pushed on us in the media nonstop:
Why I resigned from the AMA
Did any of you see the press conference (yet another one) earlier this evening? The idea is to hard-sell this health ''reform'' plan yet again. I could not bring myself to watch it, but I waited for the transcript to appear online.
It appears as though a lot of time was devoted to blaming the previous administration for the financial troubles, and to establish the ''fact'' that the present regime accepts no blame for any economic disaster, present, past, or future. A lot of self-justification was contained in a rather short speech.
A reporter asks:
Q You've been pushing Congress to pass health-care reform by August. Why the rush? Are you worried that if you don't -- if there's a delay until the fall, the whole effort will collapse?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Couple of points. Number one, I'm rushed because I get letters every day from families that are being clobbered by health-care costs.
So folks are skeptical, and that is entirely legitimate, because they haven't seen a lot of laws coming out of Washington lately that help them.
But my hope is, and I'm confident that, when people look at the cost of doing nothing, they're going to say, you know, we can make this happen. We've -- we've made big changes before that end up resulting in a better life for the American people.''
First of all, I find it absurd to imagine the president, any president, sitting there by the hour opening letters from every citizen out there with a complaint or a plea for help. Do people really write the president saying 'save us, Mr. President; we can't afford our health care.' And assuming that yes, indeed, there are such pathetic souls who imagine that the president or Uncle Sugar is there to answer their every need and request, does this president expect us to believe that he thinks his role is to give his fans what they want, and say ''your wish is my command''?
I don't imagine that any president even lays eyes on most of the mail that is sent to the White House. But apparently this president thinks we all just fell off the turnip truck, and that he has no choice but to reform health care drastically because John and Jane Doe in Anytown, USA demand it. As if the ''little people'' call the shots in America.
If public demand and the wishes of citizens meant anything at all, we'd have closed borders, lower taxes, and a lot of things that we stand no chance of getting until Hades freezes over.
Q But experts say that in addition to the benefits that you're pushing, there is going to have to be some sacrifice in order for there to be true cost-cutting measures, such as Americans giving up tests, referrals, choice, end-of-life care.
When you describe health-care reform, you don't -- understandably, you don't talk about the sacrifices that Americans might have to make. Do you think -- do you accept the premise that other than some tax increases, on the wealthiest Americans, the American people are going to have to give anything up in order for this to happen?''
Watch for the double-talk and the obfuscation here.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: They're going to have to give up paying for things that don't make them healthier. And I -- speaking as an American, I think that's the kind of change you want.
Look, if right now hospitals and -- and doctors aren't coordinating enough to have you just take one test when you come in because of an illness but instead have you take one test; then you go to another specialist, you take a second test, then you go to another specialist, you take a third test; and nobody's bothering to send the first test that you took -- same test -- to the next doctors, you're wasting money. You may not see it, because if you have health insurance right now, it's just being sent to the insurance company, but that's raising your premiums, it's raising everybody's premiums. And that money, one way or another, is coming out of your pocket, although we are also subsidizing some of that, because there are tax breaks for health care. So not only is it costing you money in terms of higher premiums, it's also costing you as a taxpayer.
Now, I want to change that. Every American should want to change that. Why would we want to pay for things that don't work, that aren't making us healthier?
And here's what I'm confident about. If doctors and patients have the best information about what works and what doesn't, then they're going to want to pay for what works.
If there's a blue pill and a red pill, and the blue pill is half the price of the red pill and works just as well, why not pay half price for the thing that's going to make you well?''
All this talk of blue pills and red pills seems to bring The Matrix to mind. I never saw it, but I know enough about it to know about the blue pills and red pills.
And as to not paying for things that 'don't work, that aren't making us healthier', would that not include any number of treatments or medications that don't truly 'make people healthier' but merely keep their symptoms under control, or perhaps keep chronic conditions somewhat manageable? It looks very much as if the intention is that many treatments for, say, cancer or diabetes or kidney disease patients would be looked on as 'things that don't work' because they don't reverse or cure underlying disease.
To the recent comments the president made in answer to a question at one of the town halls, he said that a woman with cardiac arrhythmias might just 'take a pain pill' instead of having surgery. Surely it does not take a medical professional to know that cardiac arrhythmias are not helped by 'painkillers', and that resorting to such non-treatments with such a potentially serious condition is downright dangerous.
But again, I am getting hints that those with chronic diseases, and especially older people, will be written off as too costly. Passive euthanasia.
I didn't watch the press conference but from reading the transcript I found it all very unimpressive and unpersuasive. I don't think the case was very well made at all; I found only vague and rambling statements, and little substance. And not having seen or heard this speech, seeing it only in text, I was not likely to be taken in by any alleged 'charisma' or the 'sonorous voice' that so many seem to be captivated by.
But on another topic altogether, a very telling exchange in response to 'hometown' reporter Lynn Sweet's question
(which seems rather like a set-up, a scripted question, so the prez could address the Gates furor):
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Recently, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was arrested at his home in Cambridge. What does that incident say to you? And what does it say about race relations in America?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I -- I should say at the outset that Skip Gates is a friend, so I may be a little biased here.
I don't know all the facts. What's been reported, though, is that the guy forgot his keys, jimmied his way to get into the house; there was a report called into the police station that there might be a burglary taking place.
So far, so good, right? I mean, if I was trying to jigger into -- well, I guess this is my house now, so -- (laughter) -- it probably wouldn't happen.
(Chuckling.) But let's say my old house in Chicago -- (laughter) -- here I'd get shot. (Laughter.) But so far, so good. They're -- they're -- they're reporting. The police are doing what they should. There's a call. They go investigate. What happens?
My understanding is, at that point, Professor Gates is already in his house. The police officer comes in. I'm sure there's some exchange of words. But my understanding is -- is that Professor Gates then shows his ID to show that this is his house, and at that point he gets arrested for disorderly conduct, charges which are later dropped.
Now, I've -- I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that. But I think it's fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home.''
And not having seen all the facts, why answer at all? It would behoove him to learn the facts before offering his two cents, and calling the Cambridge police or their actions ''stupid.'' But fools rush in:
And number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcing disproportionately. That's just a fact.
As you know, Lynn, when I was in the state legislature in Illinois, we worked on a racial profiling bill because there was indisputable evidence that blacks and Hispanics were being stopped disproportionately. And that is a sign, an example of how, you know, race remains a factor in the society.
That doesn't lessen the incredible progress that has been made. I am standing here as testimony to the progress that's been made. And yet the fact of the matter is, is that, you know, this still haunts us.''
Yes, the race card was played by the man elected to lead us. That's you and I who are being accused and convicted.
Not only White Americans and policemen have been accused in this press conference, but doctors and the medical profession also. Is the idea to alienate as many people as possible? I thought the idea was to 'unite'.
I would like some of those people who were so sure that electing this man would 'end the complaints of racism' to step forward and admit, publicly, that they were wrong. Big time.
Race relations are worse because minorities never let up on the grievance-mongering and the power displays. This present regime has exacerbated racial conflicts.
And even when there are honest misunderstandings, the fact that blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, and oftentime for no cause, casts suspicion even when there is good cause. And that's why I think the more that we're working with local law enforcement to improve policing techniques so that we're eliminating potential bias, the safer everybody's going to be.''
If blacks and Hispanics are picked up more frequently, it's for the reason that they commit a disproportionate share of crimes, from traffic violations on up. I won't link to the Color of Crime yet again; anybody who is not familiar may google it.
And ending profiling will make nobody safer except lawbreakers -- if they are of the correct race and ethnicity. For the rest of us, it will mean a less safe America.
Which brings us full circle; the health care ''reform'' plan will also make us less safe and less secure, knowing that arbitrary and capricious decisions made for political reasons will actually be harmful to us and our loved ones over the long term.
During the long election cycle of last year, I spent some time arguing against those who said that 'worse is better'. Now we are about to see which school of thought was right. I can only hope the 'worse is better' proponents were correct, because we've begun to experience the 'worse', and we're about to see if ''better'' ensues.