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The Young and Formerly Young

When I was younger, it used to drive me nuts when adults would solemnly intone “One day, you will understand.”  Well, unfortunately, they were right, and many of the young people today who are adamantly for health care change can’t see themselves old and gray because that’s the way that youth is.  Some day, you will understand. In fact, older adults are an abstraction to many of the young.  Why shouldn’t the young people not understand the issues of the elderly when they have heard the incessant litany from their teachers that every stranger intends to do them harm?  Not to mention the mere character of youth itself?  They will never get old.  Yet, we do share things in common, dying, getting sick, taxes.  Well, maybe not sharing taxes since the administration seems obsessed with taxing “The Rich”, which is Washington-speak for other people.

What today’s youth does not have is a 40-year history of involuntarily paying taxes to “Social Security” with the promise extended from Washington that the money would be there for us when our earning days have ended.  As said before, if that money had been handled by actuaries, there would be no health care crisis.  But they didn’t, it was handled by politicians, and that is the real core of the problem.

Cost Cutting – Washington Style

In a rare moment of editorial clarity, the Atlanta Journal recently explained that the term “Cuts in Medicare” really meant “cuts in the growth of Medicare.”  It’s another example of the fact that things are different inside the Beltway.  Out here in the real world, when we don’t have enough money, we cut our spending.  We don’t eat out as much, we pass on that new electronic toy, we vacation in our backyards.  In Washington, cutting spending has an entirely different color.

For years, the politicians have used the term “cost cutting” to tell the electorate that they feel our pain and are doing something about the spending problems that they seem to chronically enjoy.  In fact, their subterfuge is that the rate of growth of government is throttled back a bit.  But that door swings both ways, and when the current administration threw out the term “Medicare Spending Cuts”, those who will be using Medicare in their old age heard what they did and reacted accordingly.  Which is to say, negatively.  The politicians can’t have it both ways, but they certainly seem to keep trying.

People Just Want to Be Heard

In the end, much of the town hall debacle can be attributed to the naive belief on the part of the electorate that their opinion actually matters.  The town hall meeting process devolved the way that it did because our elected officials have forgotten that minor detail.  Likewise, the political response was largely the equivalent of “Your call is important to us”, and people recognized it as such.  Much has been made of the mayhem at these meetings, but given the stonewall response from Washington in recent years, something had to be done to get their attention.

The Great Debate

Say what you will about how the process has been handled, one has to give the Obama administration credit for bringing up a topic that needed to be discussed.  Of course, the manner of the “discussion” has been an interesting one since there is more heat than light being generated by this so-called discourse.  I blame the media for that because television loves people yelling at each other, lots of action and the promise of more after this commercial break.

In actuality, what is happening on the national scene is not unlike the James Thurber story about a heavily promoted fight between two jungle animals.  Those staging the fight ramped up the publicity, telling all the other animals that they should pay to attend this great match because the animals that were fighting were so evenly matched that it would be the fight of the century.  The end result of all the hyperbole was that nobody attended, because what the animals really want is to see someone just pummeled into submission.

The Endless War

I’m not much of a fan of the current administration, in part because they seem to be stuck in campaign mode.  The fact is that you run for public office, you win and then you find yourself facing an entirely different set of issues when it comes to actually discharging your duties as a public official.  More than a few Congresspersons remain stuck in campaign mode, constantly raising funds for the next election and leaving actual governance and constituent service to their staff.  Which may partially serve to explain Cynthia McKinney’s actions toward the northern half of her former Congressional district.

It appears that the Obama administration is doing such a thing, and the youthful staff that helped get him elected are now creating public policy, writing teleprompter speeches and generally acting like the kids that they are.  That hotbed of conservative thought, MSNBC proclaims that it was the young that gave Obama the election.  And with all that texting and twittering, the kids are now looking at their parents and realizing that we, as a generation, are on the verge of dying.  And that they will be paying the bills, just as every generation before has done.  Presumably, the Hemlock Society will be enjoying an eloquent increase in membership amongst the young.

Death & Dying

While the children call this process Compassion & Choices, it is beginning to sound a little different to me.  I am beginning to feel that I am being pushed out the door.  Although many give Sarah Palin credit for the term “Death Panels”, I am reasonably certain that someone else came up with the concept.  She just articulated it.  However alarmist and inaccurate the notion might have been, it certainly hit a resonant chord with the American public, especially the ones closer to dying.  We’re all going to die, it is just a question of how much dignity that we have when we do.  And, the premise of having to face a bureaucrat to talk about the end of their life is one that a lot of people took to heart.

Likewise, another term which has gained purchase is “crammed down our throats”, and it, too, has achieved resonance with the American public.  Those advocating massive changes to our health care system have treated the general public as needing a dose of Castor oil.  What they don’t seem to remember is that this strong medicine is a laxative….

In any case, the pace of “reform” has been frenetic, due in no small part to the considerable presence of young policy makers who have limited experience.  And, once the young have solved the health care issue, there will be other public policy issues to be addressed.  The pace of “change” has been so fast and so profound, one has to wonder what the Obama administration has planned for the next 3 1/2 years.

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Say what you will about Americans, when the going gets tough, we start telling jokes.  I suppose that these might be funny if the Congress wasn’t so determined to create a solution.  So:

Father of U. S. Health Care Reform

Lenin

V. I. Lenin

The Genius of Health Care Reform

With so many pages of enabling legislation, National Health Care Reform in the U. S. was designed to meet every contingency.  Here, the system at work:

National Health Care System

National Health Care System

Note that the system has a fail safe feature; the attendant is present to put out fires when they break out.

Efficiencies

The National Health Care System uses advanced features to save costs.  Here, swine flu vaccine is distributed to our customers:

Swinf Flu Dispensers

Swine Flu Dispensers

Customer Care

A team of National Health Care counselors provide health care information for our customers.  Here, they prepare for a day of helping people:

Health Care Counselors

Health Care Counselors

Customer Support

National Health Care also offers assistance for our customers.  Here, a random weight check to insure compliance with National guidelines:

Weight Check Roadblock

Weight Check Roadblock

Here, a random National Health Care identity verification:

Just Checking

Just Checking

New Facilities

National Health Care means new, state-of-the-art facilities:

New Child Care Facility - Miami

New Child Care Facility - Miami

Improved Access to Health Care

Here, National Health Care officials direct a customer to the line for appointments:

Appointments Counseling

Appointments Counseling

Prevention

Since National Health Care is paid for by taxes, it is important that our customers remain healthy.  Here, a National Health Care customer tries the new Soylent White health bar:

New Soylent White!

New Soylent White!

Intervention

In spite of the best efforts of the National Health Care system, some customers are unable to meet the basic requirements for a healthy life.  Here, a misinformed customer is educated about the need for healthy choices after buying a dozen chocolate doughnuts at a local grocery store:

You are not eating the correct foods

You are not eating the correct foods

And Remember:

The motto of the National Health Care System is:

When you get hit by a bus, we all pay.

*****

With thanks to English Russia for great photographs.

Что благодаря Английский России большой фотографии..

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