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ObamaCare, Castro, and the Future of our Health Care

As the Obama administration and its supporters cheer the passage of ObamaCare -- the disastrous health care bill pushed through both houses of Congress by stealth, sleazy deals and perhaps unconstitutional measures -- President Obama has received congratulations on the accomplishment from a most unlikely source who should know what America’s health care system is likely to look like in the near future -- Fidel Castro.

The Associated Press reports that “Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro on Thursday declared passage of American health care reform ‘a miracle’ and a major victory for Obama's presidency, but couldn't help chide the United States for taking so long to enact what communist Cuba achieved decades ago.” The report continues: "‘We consider health reform to have been an important battle and a success of his (Obama's) government,’ Castro wrote in an essay published in state media, adding that it would strengthen the president's hand against lobbyists and ‘mercenaries.’"

As Castro explained, "It is really incredible that 234 years after the Declaration of Independence ... the government of that country has approved medical attention for the majority of its citizens, something that Cuba was able to do half a century ago."

As for el jefe himself, he was not about to trust the Cuban health care system that he and Michael Moore love so much for his own treatment. When he was stricken three years ago with a serious intestinal disorder, he had a top Spanish physician flown into Cuba to treat him. When that doctor’s schedule proved inflexible, the British press reported, Castro was then flown into Spain where he received treatment in a private restricted wing of the Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid.

The problem, of course, is where will we go for treatment when in a few years, our new system goes into effect. My my wife just got back from having lunch with an old friend who  recently received some shocking news.  She received a letter in the mail from her trusted primary care doctor who informed her -- and all of her patients -- that from now on, she would not be able to treat patients on Medicare.

It does not pay enough to make it possible for her to stay in practice and accept patients who rely on it any longer. Hence all her patients who wish to use her services, would have to pay her full fee out of their own pockets. Our friend promptly called over ten other recommended doctors to see if she could see them. The answer: None would treat her. They simply could not take on Medicare patients.

Well, the administration has an answer for our friend and others like her: the new federally funded health clinics which, as the Wall Street Journal reported today, “are set to play an even larger role in the revamped health-care landscape.” These clinics are meant for the rural poor and inner-city residents, who will walk in  be “charged based on their ability to pay.”  The poorly trained doctor who will work there, or most likely a physician’s assistant, will be fine to use if one has a sore throat or simple problem. But if you have a  serious medical problem that requires a major Board Certified specialist, good luck! You will get the type of treatment the average Cuban gets in one of Fidel’s hospitals. No wonder he fled his country when he needed a specialist.

These new clinics, the socialist senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, noted, “could be the future of primary health care in America.” Bernie doesn’t have to worry. The Senate exempted themselves from being part of the new health care reform, and Bernie will still be able to use the Senate’s own very fine choice of health care providers. But the new clinics will in fact be how and where many of the 30 million uninsured will now be treated.  Leftists and liberals who support the program can now have a clear conscience -- everyone will get medical care -- but their own families, when they find their own doctors will not accept Medicare, will be forced, if they can, to pay big bucks for the treatment they expect and think that they deserve.

An old historian friend Martin J. Sklar put it in a letter I received today this way;  ObamaCare furthers a  “party-state-command system,” one that creates a “parasitic unproductive ‘public sector’- capitalism masquerading as ‘reform,’ ‘social justice,’ ‘socialism’: the new feudalism.” He concludes that the bill marks what he thinks is a crisis of our constitutional “order both in procedure and in substance."  Sklar even thinks- a judgement which I do share- that the American system initiated by Obama could evolve into a "proto-fascist tyranny, American style." These are indeed worrisome fears from a brilliant American historian that perhaps are too pessimistic. I truly hope that Sklar is wrong. But the policies of the Obama administration should give us pause.