Welcome to Obamaville

Dr. Milton R. Wolf, who is a radiologist in Kansas, and Barack Obama’s second cousin once removed, and an outspoken opponent of Obamacare, writes in the Washington Times:

As one example, consider the implications of Obamacare’s financial penalty aimed at your doctor if he seeks the expert care he has determined you need. If your doctor is in the top 10 percent of primary care physicians who refer patients to specialists most frequently—no matter how valid the reasons—he will face a 5 percent penalty on all their Medicare reimbursements for the entire year. This scheme is specifically designed to deny you the chance to see a specialist. Each year, the insidious nature of that arbitrary 10 percent rule will make things even worse as 100 percent of doctors try to stay off that list. Many doctors will try to avoid the sickest patients, and others will simply refuse to accept Medicare. Already, 42 percent of doctors have chosen that route, and it will get worse. Your mother’s shiny government-issued Medicare health card is meaningless without doctors who will accept it.

This is beyond unbelievable. Truly it is out of Atlas Shrugged, in which the government-enforced egalitarian leveling process is shown to be a pursuit of death. The idea that under Obamacare the ten percent of primary care doctors who refer patients to specialists most frequently will be financially penalized means that ten percent of primary doctors cannot help but be penalized. Which means that all primary care physicians will strive not to recommend patients to specialists. Which means that the costs of health care will be controlled by ending healthcare. Which means that equality will be achieved by dragging everyone down to the level of an impoverished, Third-World country. Which is what the Obamacrats want.

In a 2006 blog article, “Western liberals’ ultimate embrace of Islam,” I wrote:

Western liberals can no longer stand pretending to care about and to be responsible for a civilization that they no longer believe in. They resent the charge; they’re weary of the task. If the opportunity were offered to them, they would much prefer to be the retainers and attendants of a Muslim Caliph of Europe, no longer having to carry the unwanted and disliked burden of Western-ness and white-ness, but serving in a subordinate though still useful and honorable role in a new Islamic Golden Age. They would be happier and more fulfilled that way.

In the same way, the liberal elite of the West feel deeply uncomfortable leading a society in which there are such striking differences between the more talented and the less talented, between the better off and the worse off, between the healthy-living and the unhealthy-living, between the less sick and the more sick. They would be much happier if everyone were equally unhealthy—except of course themselves. They will still be the elite, but now an elite free from the guilty burden of being responsible for an unequal society. In the enforced poverty, ill-health, and premature death of millions, the liberal elite will find peace at last.

- end of initial entry -

Paul Nachman writes:

Yes, that’s one of the zillion features in one or all of the bills. I think it will act like a continual ratchet (i.e. motion in only one direction), squeezing the system, via the doctors, more and more every year.

I expect, if any of the monstrosities are enacted, that we’ll see wide-scale civil disobedience, shading over into uncivil disobedience. Doctors refusing to follow the stipulations of government boards, people refusing to fill out the new features on tax returns that will be needed by the IRS to check on whether individuals have bought insurance, state legislators passing nullification laws with teeth. (Are you aware of the Oathkeepers organization? See this 8-minute video of Sheriff Richard Mack.)

Shading over into violence, with people taking shots at federal employees (and even the state-employee slugs who work in the DMVs, etc.). Are these thoughts forbidden. Whatever we may think about it, such thoughts will increasingly be abroad in the land. What we’re living under now, politically, is far more tyrannical—thinking of both taxes and general government intrusion—than what set off the American Revolution. Our lives are vastly easier materially, but the political environment is thuggish. [LA replies: I would say that Obamacare is not just “far more” tyrannical than the laws that set off the American Revolution; it’s a thousand times more tyrannical, it’s ten thousand times more tyrannical. In 1765 there was a tax on commercial stamps and in 1773 a tax on tea. The American colonists correctly saw these taxes as the sign and harbinger of unrestrained government power over them without their representation. But all it was, in actuality, was a small tax. Yet that small tax was enough to set off the American Revolution.]

Of course, doctors will also stop seeing patients en masse. Just a week ago, I was talking with a local dermatologist who frequently attends physics colloquia. He told me that surgeon to whom he refers people with skin cancers are starting to tell him that they’ll be turning patients down; e.g. Medicare’s reimbursement of a few hundred dollars for a common operation is less than the doctors have to pay for the “tray” needed in the operation, and that’s before even counting the nurse’s pay, the office overhead, and any compensation for the physician.

(Interestingly, this doctor, Jack Tkach, when he was a kid, knew Pres. Eisenhower! Tkach’s dad was physician for several presidents—ah, yes, everything is on the web!—and the boy was in the Oval Office a number of times, and addressed by his first name by Ike.)

The only question I have is: How soon could constitutional challenges be raised?

LA replies:

I think, immediately.

Kristor writes:

I think Paul Nachman is right. Once people see the fine print actually coming into operation, there will be rage. Hell, doctors are already leaving the profession in droves, on account of little old Medicare. I heard a cardiologist on Rush last week who called in to say that Medicare had just whacked fees on cardiological procedures by like 40 percent at two fell swoops, and that cardiology could not be practiced at those rates. She and her husband were planning on shutting down their practice. They saw no option, because of course the lion’s share of cardiology patients are covered by Medicare.

What would happen if Atlas actually shrugged? All it would take would be for the self-identified conservatives, who outnumber the liberals, to refuse to submit their tax returns, en masse.

Time for me to start attending Tea Parties.

Kristor writes:

Say! Ain’t this the day of days? Perched on the razor’s edge of history. It’s like Christmas Eve, 1989, when the Warsaw Pact fell, writ small and lousy and pathetic. The world will end—if that’s how it turns out—with a whimper.

It may yet turn out that we were both right in our predictions about the last Presidential race: you that an Obama victory would reawaken the Right, and I that an Obama victory could destroy America. Both could turn out true. If they do, it’s a recipe for civil war.

March 16

Charles T. writes:

You wrote:

Which means that the costs of health care will be controlled by ending healthcare. Which means that equality will be achieved by dragging everyone down to the level of an impoverished, Third-World country. Which is what the Obamacrats want.

You have made some very accurate statements in the past few days about the socialized medicine juggernaut headed our way. I particularly like the quote above because I believe it accurately describes what President Obama and the Democrats really have in mind. What they have in mind is not about healthcare improvement, but about control of our population. And, one of the best ways to seize control of a population is to control the medical system; this allows the government to say who lives, who dies, who gets treated, who is refused treatment, etc. The government will get to play god even more than they are doing now. This seizure of control is also about our money. The healthcare legislation is a massive tax on our incomes and on what we have accumulated over a lifetime of work; all in return for vastly diminished healthcare. We will be getting nothing in exchange for surrendering our incomes to the government. The end result will be the destruction of the United States as we have known it. You have called this situation accurately.

Mel R. writes:

Liberals really are evil aren’t they? I say this with no hyperbole at all. They have carved God out of their lives and all that is left is “the heart of darkness” and we all know who the prince of darkness is. From Stalin and Mao to Obamacare, it really is the same.

Harry Horse (an MD) writes:

As per my previous email, I’m still being audited by Medicare for falling outside their predefined billing patterns, and despite assurances of a 6-8 wk process, we are going into the sixth month without any notice if the process of chart evaluation has even begun. For your readers—I stopped taking Medicare about a year ago, once it was apparent what was happening. I had “the talk” with my wife last night, about beans, bullets, and bandages, if you will.

My country is at war with me. I didn’t want it at was once its staunchest supporter. Soon, everyone will be forced to choose a side (kicking and screaming I suppose).

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 16, 2010 01:25 AM | Send

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