Friday, May 21, 2010

Future Shock

The future of American medical care has been looking bleak for some time and looks even bleaker since passage of Obamacare. One casualty of the woeful state of things is our medicare system which, according to this article, is virtually imploding in places like Texas:

Texas doctors are opting out of Medicare at alarming rates, frustrated by reimbursement cuts they say make participation in government-funded care of seniors unaffordable.

Two years after a survey found nearly half of Texas doctors weren't taking some new Medicare patients, new data shows 100 to 200 a year are now ending all involvement with the program. Before 2007, the number of doctors opting out averaged less than a handful a year.

"This new data shows the Medicare system is beginning to implode," said Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the Texas Medical Association. "If Congress doesn't fix Medicare soon, there'll be more and more doctors dropping out and Congress' promise to provide medical care to seniors will be broken."

More than 300 doctors have dropped the program in the last two years, including 50 in the first three months of 2010, according to data compiled by the Houston Chronicle. Texas Medical Association officials, who conducted the 2008 survey, said the numbers far exceeded their assumptions.

Then there's this dispiriting forecast:

The new healthcare law will pack 32 million newly insured people into emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities.

A chief aim of the new healthcare law was to take the pressure off emergency rooms by mandating that people have insurance coverage. The idea was that if people have insurance, they will go to a doctor rather than putting off care until they faced an emergency.

People who build hospitals, however, say newly insured people will still go to emergency rooms for primary care because they don't have a doctor.

"Everybody expected that one of the initial impacts of reform would be less pressure on emergency departments; it's going to be exactly the opposite over the next four to eight years," said Rich Dallam, a healthcare partner at the architectural firm NBBJ, which designs healthcare facilities.

No medicare for many of the nation's elderly. Already crowded emergency rooms soon to be jammed beyond their capacity. Mr. Obama is certainly living up to his promise of being a transformational president.


Dictators and Lefties

There is among leftists a curious fascination with dictators and dictatorships. During the 1930s, before the Nazi atrocities were known, American progressives were very much enamored of both Hitler and Mussolini. More recently we've seen Hollywood types like Danny Glover and Sean Penn express their admiration for tyrants Jean Bertrand Aristide and Hugo Chavez, and of course, Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, who murdered thousands of Cubans, were rock stars among the Left for much of the last half of the last century. Recently, Obama spokeswoman Anita Dunn told a college audience that her favorite philosopher was Mao Tse Tung, the Communist Chinese leader who killed millions of his fellow Chinese.

Now comes word that yet another Hollywood left-wing luminary has endorsed dictatorship. Woody Allen, according to Fox News, has expressed the opinion that President Obama should be allowed to be a dictator:

In an interview published by Spanish language newspaper La Vanguardia, Allen says "I am pleased with Obama. I think he's brilliant. The Republican Party should get out of his way and stop trying to hurt him." Allen said "it would be good...if he [Obama]could be a dictator for a few years because he could do a lot of good things quickly."

I suppose this is what passes for trenchant political thought at Hollywood cocktail parties, but to most people, I would bet, it sounds pretty dumb. Even so, given Obama's wish to have a citizen militia as well-trained as the military, the affection so many of his appointees have for Marx and Mao, and the various threats to free speech that have emanated from his FCC, dictatorial aspirations in this administration might not be as far-fetched as one might hope.

Totalitarian socialist dictatorships, whether fascist or communist, are the end point of leftist politics. There is something in the DNA of those on the left that draws them, as though in thrall to an irresistible gravity, toward less and less individual freedom and more and more government control. If such a tyranny should ever come to pass in this country celebrities like Allen, Glover, and Penn will probably be in the front of the crowd cheering its arrival.