By Carter Clews
The latest figures from James Carville's Democracy Corps polling firm cannot be good news for Barack Obama and his head-strong, headlong push for government-run socialized medicine: A full 54 percent of senior citizens oppose the scheme. And 40 percent oppose it "strongly."
Perhaps they have figured out what Obama is covering up and the mainstream media is refusing to reveal: "Obamacare" is the ultimate redistribution program. Only in this case, it's far worse than the mere "redistribution of wealth," candidate Obama proposed in his campaign.
With "Obamacare," the president proposes "redistributing the health" – from the old who have worked hard all of their lives to provide for their "Golden Years" to the younger members of the welfare culture who have come to believe that everything they receive from the hand of government is an "entitlement," and that universal health care should now be loaded onto the Gravy Train.
In short, the Obama government-run "health care" plan is actually a not-so-veiled attempt to take from those who have worked hard and – once again – give to those who have hardly worked.
Need proof? Asked where he would get the funds to provide free universal health care coverage for all 43 million uninsured Americans – including the full 40 percent of whom simply did not bother to work last year -- he boasted that he would cut Medicare and Medicaid by more than $500 billion, completely gutting those long-established programs.
Now, keep in mind that today, more than one-third of senior citizens depend on those two programs for vital – often life-sustaining -- medical treatment. Within 30 years, as Baby Boomers continue to age, that number will double. And under the Obama program, the services they rely upon most will no longer exist.
At his recent press conference designed to push his welfare healthcare program, Obama was forced to admit that under "Obamacare," he would appoint a panel of government-ordained "experts" to ration out health care to those they think deserve it most. Conceded the president, "And part of what I think government can do effectively is to be an honest broker in assessing and evaluating treatment options."
And who will Dr. Obama's "honest brokers" choose to let live – or die?
In an interview with the New York Times, Obama pulled no punches in pronouncing that his rationing police would have to take a long, hard look at "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives [who are] are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here." And that, he added, "certainly [is] true when it comes to Medicare and Medicaid, where the taxpayers are footing the bill and we have an obligation to get those costs under control."
Now, lest anyone think that the Obama plan would never, ever consign senior citizens to Solyent Green-type "dying rooms," consider what has occurred in the countries he most often cites as models for his health care rationing regime.
Dr. Karol Sikora, the former head of the World Health Organization Cancer Program and author of The Economics of Cancer Care, recently reve aled that under the British national "health care" program there are 25,000 "unnecessary deaths" every year. "As a practicing oncologist," he disclosed, "I am forced to give patients older, cheaper medicines. The real cost of this penny-pinching is premature death for thousands of patients."
In Canada, according to Dr. David Gratzer, a Canadian physician, author, and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, "More than 1.5 million Ontarians (or 12 percent of that province's population) can't find family physicians. Health officials in one Nova Scotia community actually resorted to a lottery to determine who'd get a doctor's appointment."
None of which bodes well for senior citizens already consigned by Mr. Obama to the tender mercies of the rationing police. But, actually, despite the horrors of Britain and Canada, the real model for "Obamacare" might be even worse.
In the nation of Zimbabwe several decades back, another highly popular, charismatic leader proposed government-mandated socialized medicine for what, at the time, was known as "The Breadbasket of Africa." After all, he reasoned, if they could provide food for an entire continent, they could certainly provide health care for their own people. A noble mission, indeed. Or, so it may have seemed.
Soon, according to the Oxford Journal's "Health Policy and Planning" monograph, "health care was free for people earning less than 150 Zimbabwe dollars (Zim$) per month (US$8.6). Fees were only charged at the level of the district hospital."
Sound like Utopia? Well, not quite. Here, according to Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), is the situation in Zimbabwe today:
"How can he [the formerly charismatic Robert Mugabe] be proud of a country where we looked at a doctor's paycheck for the month – we held the pay stub in our hands – for 32 cents for a month's compensation?"
According to PHR, in Zimbabwe today, "Since November (2008) all of Zimbabwe's public hospitals have closed. Mission hospitals are scarce, overcrowded, and lack basic resources like running water."
It's clear: socialized medicine – whether called "the public option," "national health care," or "Obamacare" – simply doesn't work.
And one is left to wonder: When – not if, when – the "redistribution of the health" in America descends to the level of Britain, Canada, or, yes, Zimbabwe, and the rationing police are called in to divvy up the scarcity, who will be the first to be sent to the "Soylent Green Rationing Rooms" in order to, in Obama's words, "get these costs under control"?
Perhaps the 54 percent of seniors who now oppose Mr. Obama's health care scheme have already figured out the answer to that chilling question.
Carter Clews is the Executive Director of ALG News.