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Health care debate: Beware of foreign objects

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Rick Horowitz
August 13, 2009

Confused about health care reform?


Of course you’re confused! Why wouldn’t you be confused? You’ve got multiple versions of multiple bills coming out of multiple committees on Capitol Hill. Hundreds, even thousands, of pages of complex provisions, and for every provision—for every clause of every complex provision—there’s somebody determined to push it through, and somebody equally determined to bury it. And then there’s all the rest of us who, technically speaking, don’t have a clue.


But that’s not the part I’m most confused about. The part I’m most confused about isn’t about any particular provision in any of the bills, let alone any particular clause of any particular provision in any of the bills. Let alone any particular clause or provision that actually isn’t in any of the bills, but that certain shadowy forces would like you to believe is in the bills, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

This is one of those debates, after all, where the imaginary provisions are every bit as powerful as the real ones. Maybe even more powerful. See, it’s hard to get worked up about the minutiae of “community ratings” and reimbursement formulas and the like. You know, actual details, from the actual world of actual legislation.


But the feds pulling the plug on Grandma? Taking control of my computer? Stealing money from my bank account? Now we’re talking!


We’re talking nonsense, but that’s another matter.


Anyway, none of that is what I’m most confused about. This is what I’m most confused about: Which country are we turning into?


I’ve been watching the various town-hall shout-fests. I’ve been tuning in to the occasional radio rant. So I know—in general terms—that President Obama is trying to foist some totally un-American health-care scheme on the unsuspecting American public. But my question is: Which totally un-American health-care scheme?


I’ve been watching for days, and I’m deeper in the dark than ever. Some of the Angrys say it’s Canada; if “ObamaCare” gets through Congress, they promise, we’re all going to wake up one day and find out we’ve turned into Canada, with long lines and long waits and doctors who say “Eh?” all the time.


But then there are the other Angrys who insist it’s Great Britain. Pass “ObamaCare,” they say, and we’re well on our way to assorted Dickensian medical horrors. Plus the food is lousy.


But if those prospects aren’t frightening enough, the Angrys have shown that they’re perfectly willing to haul out the big guns, too. (Rhetorically speaking, I mean. At least so far.)


“It’s like Russia!” they scream.


“It’s like Communist China!!”


And, of course, that old standby, that stop-the-conversation, pick-your-jaw-up-off-the-floor favorite:


“It’s like Nazi Germany!!!”


Do you see how confusing this is? So little time, so many countries to be afraid of. They need to get their stories straight! If the Angrys could just settle on one country to hold up as their agreed-upon despicable example, instead of all this scattershot stuff—different countries, on different continents, in different eras—we could finally have a coherent conversation about things. (Well, maybe not coherent—but at least it would be shorter.) But how are we expected to sort it all out when one minute Barack Obama is supposed to be Adolf Hitler, and the next minute Tony Blair?


C’mon, Angrys—a little discipline!


Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at rickhoro@execpc.com.

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