By John Semmens: Semi-News — A Satirical Look at Recent News
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann expressed disappointment that the US Senate has decided to delete “end-of-life counseling” from their version of the President’s health care bill.
“Now a frightened or lonely elderly man or woman won’t get the benefit of friendly advice on how to end their pain,” Olbermann complained. “They’ll be left to go it alone, unaware that the government is willing to provide assisted suicide at little or no expense to them.”
Worse still, according to Olbermann, “society will have to continue to bear the burdens of costly medical treatment for many who really have nothing much to live for.”
Olbermann blamed “right-wing fanatics” like former Governor Sarah Palin, “whose own selfishness prevented her from saving her own son from a useless life as a retard,” for “stirring up opposition to this merciful provision” of the proposed legislation.
Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the President’s health-policy adviser in the Office of Management and Budget, seconded Olbermann’s complaint. “As the President himself pointed out, sometimes it’s better for a person to just take a pill than try to continue to hold onto a deteriorated quality of life,” Emanuel said. “I, myself, have given similar advice to many of my patients. All this bill would’ve done is encourage other doctors to do the same by providing a monetary incentive for such end-of-life counseling. People who are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens need this counseling.”
The absence of an incentive for such counseling “will prolong the agony of the suffering and increase the financial burden to extend lives not worth the investment of society’s scarce resources,” Emanuel argued. “Physicians must break out of their narrow focus on each single patient and consider the effects on the collective well-being of society. The government offering them compensation for doing so seems, to me, a cost-effective way of achieving this.”
Health Care Rationing to Be Brought Under “Social Control”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he is determined to wrest control over health care from the insurance industry and bring it under what he called “social control.”
“There is no question that health care costs must be contained and that rationing is the most sensible way to do this,” Reid said. “The issue is whether this rationing will continue to be in the hands of profiteers or whether the government will step in and take it over for the good of the whole.”
Reid characterized the arguments of opponents of the health care bill as “disingenuous.” “They’d have voters believe that the choice is between a free market and the government,” Reid said. “Well, the free market in medical services was destroyed long ago. What we have now is a heavily regulated public-private partnership. The President’s bill just tries to clarify who is the ‘senior partner’ in the relationship.”
The Senator rejected arguments that aim at restoring a greater measure of individual control over health care decision-making, saying that the average person “lacks the knowledge to make an informed choice and is apt to be too self-centered to consider the ‘big picture.’”
“Everyone agrees that we wouldn’t let a child decide whether to go to a doctor or to take the prescribed medicine,” Reid contended. “So how could we allow an ill-informed population to make such crucial choices? A healthy community requires a coordinated plan where the good of the whole guides how resources are spent and who gets treated and who doesn’t.”
“Cash for Clunkers” Program Raises Cost of Used Cars
The highly touted “success” of the government’s program to pay individuals up to $4500 to trade in old cars for newer, more fuel efficient cars has reduced the quantity of older cars available and boosted their price. Inasmuch as older cars are the only vehicles that low income earners can afford, this segment of society has been negatively affected by the program.
Presidential Press Secretary Robert Gibbs dismissed criticism that the “poor” are bearing a disproportionate impact. “The government has poured billions into urban transit systems to serve the poor,” Gibbs argued. “They should be happy riding the bus, not out polluting the air by driving around in cheap jalopies.”
Clinton Says US Elections Just as Corrupt as those in Africa
In a bid to break new ground with governments that have previously come under suspicion for rigged elections, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asserted that “things aren’t necessarily any different in America.”
As examples, the Secretary of State suggested that George Bush’s 2000 victory over Al Gore in the presidential election and Barack Obama’s victory over her in the 2008 primary each showed significant evidence of tampering.
“In the 2000 election we had George Bush’s brother, Governor Jeb Bush pulling strings for him,” Clinton claimed. “Complex ballot design in one county resulted in the moron vote—a key Democratic constituency—mistakenly going for Pat Buchanan. In other counties, ballot counters were barred from punching through dimpled chads of incomplete ballots in strongly Democratic precincts.”
“In 2008, a man of little experience and even fewer accomplishments was able to pack Democratic caucuses with crowds of unidentified people and intimidate others into voting for him,” she continued. “So, I think you can see that our countries are not that different. It is our hope that from this common ground we can build a more lasting friendship.”
“Town Hall” Protests Irk Governing Elite
Continued outpouring of opposition to the President’s health care legislation at so-called “town hall” meetings being held around the country by members of congress is fraying tempers among the governing class.
In an op ed penned for publication in the USA Today newspaper, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) declared that opposition to the bill is “un-American.” “Great Americans from Presidents Lyndon Johnson to Bill Clinton have supported health care reform,” they wrote. “Three House Committees have passed the current bill out of their committees. The American Medical Association supports this bill. The American Trial Lawyers Association supports this bill. The American pharmaceutical industry supports this bill. American unions support this bill. If all these Americans are behind this reform, who can be against it but unAmericans?”
Harry Reid characterized the legislation’s opponents as “evil mongers.” “Instead of supporting our efforts to improve the health care system, these people are badgering the government’s representatives in city after city across the land,” Reid complained. “Instead of listening to their own elected representatives they’re trying to tell us what to do. This is pure evil in my mind.”
White House Aide Linda Douglass called Administration opponents’ tactics reprehensible. “They have dredged up videos of what the President said in 2006 when he was a senator trying to use his own words to impeach his veracity,” Douglass said. “It’s like they’re saying he’s two-faced and can’t be trusted. This is disrespectful of the President. It shouldn’t be permitted in a free country.”
Former Democratic National Chairman, Governor Howard Dean, said that “such open and vociferous opposition is inciting violence.” The only violence to-date at the town halls has come from supporters of the President’s bill roughing up a few opponents. This, says Dean, makes his point. “People can’t be allowed to say whatever they want without taking responsibility for how this affects others,” Dean contended. “The protesters are making the good people of this country mad. Any blood shed will be on their hands.”
New FCC Appointee Proposes Innovative Approach to Balanced Programming
Mark Lloyd, a former senior fellow at the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, who has been named the FCC’s new “chief diversity officer” has proposed that talk radio “use the profits made from airing right-wing programs to support an equal quantity of opposing views.” Under his proposal, the FCC would assess talk radio stations a fee equal to their profits. This money would then be turned over to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Lloyd admitted that the money spent on alternative views wouldn’t guarantee an equivalent audience. “We can air counter-programming, but we can’t make people listen, at least yet,” Lloyd conceded.
A likely outcome as Lloyd sees it would be a shift away from the talk radio format. “Faced with heavy fees, many stations will switch to other formats like music or sports,” Lloyd predicted. “This should have a more calming influence on the general public. And, let’s face it, a more agreeable disposition and a less contentious way of life will be healthier all around.”