Tooter Turtle was always in a hurry when he called on the magical lizard Mr. Wizard. Tooter (a 1960s Saturday morning cartoon character for all you youngsters out there) always had "another favor to ask"---some great feat he wanted to accomplish, some great person from another time that he absolutely needed to be. All of Mr. Wizard's fatherly pleadings that Tooter slow down and think were to no avail. The kindly sorcerer---nowadays we would call him an "enabler"---waved his wand and turned the hapless reptile into his heart's desire. Poor Tooter didn't realize till he was neck deep in his wish fulfillment that dreams can become nightmares. He always needed rescue in the end.
At first blush, universal healthcare sounds like a wonderful dream. But as they say, the devil is in the details.
Details like the fact that the new bureaucracy will create one basic HMO-style plan (under the illusion of a variety of companies). And in these government-qualified plans you won't be able to see a specialist if you want to, and treatments will be in short supply, and waits for care will be longer. (Maybe Tooter should ask Mr. Wizard to send him to Russia, so he can practice the art of waiting in queues.)
Details like the fact that government's goal is for every American to be forced to enroll. If you don't, when tax time comes around and you cannot prove you're in, you will be fined thousands of dollars, and then you will be randomly assigned to a plan anyway.
Details like the fact that new government bureaucracy will decide what exactly is covered only after the bill is passed and you are locked in.
Details like the fact that one of President Obama's healthcare advisors is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel (the brother of Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel), a proponent of state-assisted suicide who has stated that it makes no sense to offer basic health services to persons with irreversible or incurable illnesses. "An obvious example," Dr. Emanuel said, "is not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia."
Details like the fact that the "comparative effectiveness research" slipped into the stimulus bill is a coded concept familiar in England, where treatments for conditions of the elderly, like Alzheimer's or osteoporosis, are often turned down.
Details like the fact that Congress will make it, according to Betsy McCaughey, former New York lieutenant governor and now a patient's rights advocate, "mandatory that every five years, people in Medicare will have a required counseling session that will tell them how to end their life sooner---how to decline nutrition, how to decline being hydrated . . . to do what's in society's best interest."
If Tooter takes a little time imaging outcomes before rushing to be a superhero before August break, he won't have to call on Mr. Wizard while dangling from a tree root over a cliff.
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