Obama encodes rationing plan

The online Wall Street Journal has an interesting "Notable and Quotable" blurb, a piece of an interview of the president by the NY Times in April. POTUS tells the story of his grandmother receiving a cancer diagnosis and a hip replacement in the months before her death.

The end of the excerpt is what sets off my alarms. Can you see the code?

The President: So that’s where I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues. But that’s also a huge driver of cost, right? I mean, the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out here.

Mr. Leonhardt: So how do you—how do we deal with it?

The President: Well, I think that there is going to have to be a conversation that is guided by doctors, scientists, ethicists. And then there is going to have to be a very difficult democratic conversation that takes place.

Every code appears to be a non sequitur, a symbol that does not seem to follow logically from what preceded it. Here is the code sequence:

  1. potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill
  2. how do we deal with it?
  3. there is going to have to be a conversation

This conversational sequence is a non sequitur: You face a pay-the-bill problem and deal with it by using a "conversation"? That does not follow. Your basic pay-the-bill problem means you grab your wallet or cut up your credit cards — or, in the case of a Democrat politician, you grab somebody else’s wallet or run up another trillion dollar credit card bill.

But using a conversation in this context does make sense to the president. To him, it is not a non sequitur.

It is just how he thinks about health care costs. So simple, the code deciphers itself:

"there is going to have to be a conversation" = cost cutting

This is just the thing that Sarah Palin warned us about in her Facebook article. In the context of cost-cutting, the conversations are alarming, viz.

Now put this in context. These consultations are authorized whenever a Medicare recipient’s health changes significantly or when they enter a nursing home, and they are part of a bill whose stated purpose is “to reduce the growth in health care spending.” Is it any wonder that senior citizens might view such consultations as attempts to convince them to help reduce health care costs by accepting minimal end-of-life care?

Thanks, Sarah. You are right on the mark. We have to be very careful about this death panel conversation with the government ethicists.

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