Thursday, February 13, 2014
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Doubletalk, Doublespeak, and Doublethink
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms.
George Orwell (1903-1950), Politics and the English Language
Animal Farm, where everybody is equal but some are more equal than others, and 1984, when you use language to shape and choose facts selectively while blotting out those that don’t fit your agenda or program, has arrived in the doubleworld of ObamaCare, The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“Patient Protection,” while it applies to some, has also come to mean 6.2 million unsubsidized middleclass Americans losing their health plans. “Affordable, ” while it may apply to some on Medicaid and those with incomes below $46,000, has now been translated into skyrocketing premiums and deductibles for much of the middle class.
Health reform now costs two to three times its original estimate of $984 billion. We face new taxes approaching $100 billion, and the national debt that had risen to 72% of GDP compared to 40% when President Obama took office.
As Victor Davis Hansen, a historian, remarks today in his column “Obama’s Newspeak.”“Does anyone remember that the Affordable Care Act was sold on the premise that it would guarantee retention of existing health plans and doctors, create 4 million new jobs and save families $2,500 a year in premiums, all while extending expanded coverage to more people at a lower cost?”
“Only in Orwell's world of doublespeak could raising taxes, while the costs of millions of health plans soars, be called "affordable." Is losing your existing plan and doctor a way of retaining them?
“Not in our brave new world. The Obama administration says it is pleased that workers will now be freed from "job lock." What is job lock -- a made-up Newspeak word right out "1984"? Work fewer hours, make less money and create fewer outputs -- and be happy.”
I suppose in the double worlds of doublethink, the belief in holding and arguing two points of view at the same time, and doublespeak, ability to choose and shape facts selectively while not mentioning facts that don’t fit your agenda or program, these conflicts between reality and fantasy don’t make much difference. Raising taxes to pay for health care, escalating overall costs and individual premiums do not count, and decreasing access to those not on the government dole does not matter.
You have your agenda – to level the playing field for all except for your political constituents and you have the bully pulpit, your teleprompters, and your golden double-tongue – and you can accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.
From the President’s point of view, perhaps contradictions between policy and outcomes don’t matter. He will be leaving office in 2016, when ObamaCare goes into full effect. By then, he will have accomplished his mission as Chief Executive of the Good Intentions Paving Company, he will have paved the way for a single-payer system, and it will be up to his successor to implement or dismantle the chaos that remains.
Tweet: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does not protect the middle class nor is it affordable for the nation and most middle class individuals.
Posted by Richard L. Reece, MD at 12:21 PM
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