Orwell and Obamacare

"Besides, in those days they had been slaves and now they were free, and that made all the difference, as Squealer did not fail to point out." - George Orwell, Animal Farm, Ch. 9

"But it also seems fair to interpret the vote as a ringing endorsement of Americans' inalienable right to avoid buying private health insurance and instead get medical care from public emergency rooms where the cost will be passed on to the taxpayers. Maybe it's time to rethink the single-payer plan now that we have evidence that 71 percent of Missourians support the concept of socialized medicine." - Gail Collins Editor New York Times

Animal Farm by George Orwell is an allegorical novella most of us read in high school. The gradual corruption of a farmyard revolution was used to demonstrate the failure of the Stalinist government. Most memorable to me was the ability of Squealer the Pig to twist words to eventually mean the exact opposite of their original intention. Much to my chagrin, Ms. Collins, and editor of the venerated New York Times, and supporter of Obamacare, has sunk to such a level.

Her editorial concerns the Missouri referendum in which voters overwhelmingly rejected the individual mandate, which I discussed in a previous blog. The crucial point is that the vote was not about the subtle Constitutional intricacies, as most people probably did not understand them. What the voters were doing was expressing their fears. Fears of a government takeover of medicine, fears of losing their doctors, fears of uncontrolled spending and taxes, and rejection of the Congressional malfeasance that passed this deeply flawed bill. Lacking any other outlet to express these fears, the voters did what they could, sending a message to whomever might listen that they opposed this bill.

Collins reaches Orwellian distortion levels by ignoring the will of the voters and focusing on a narrow legalistic interpretation. The voters in Missouri did indeed support the right not to buy insurance, but only as an expression of their opposition to all of the other tenets of Obamacacare, which the politicians didn't let us vote on.

Adding to her cynical misrepresentation of the vote is her factually incorrect statement about public Emergency rooms. Although some free care is paid for by public funds by taxpayer funded hospitals, the majority of free care is rendered by private hospitals and physicians, which is indirectly subsidized by private insurance and medicare. Ms. Collins final subterfuge of twisting the Missouri vote into an endorsement of Single-payer government insurance would leave Squealer the Pig smiling. I would wager that a single-payer initiative would fail by a similar 70-29 margin.

Such distortions make a difficult problem impossible to debate honestly. Such cynical, partisan and condescending statements place huge obstacles to solving the very real problems facing Americans and healthcare.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/05/opinion/05collins.html?_r=1&ref=gailcollins

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