Animal Farm Comes to Arizona - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Animal Farm Comes to Arizona

“At Memorial Hermann, it means not being satisfied with the current state of medicine. It means doing all we can to save more lives and improve clinical outcomes.”
Statement from Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been transferred for treatment

“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit. That would be a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules…”
— President Obama on ObamaCare

“Some animals are more equal than others.”
George Orwell in Animal Farm

Talk about irony.

For the most unexpected of reasons, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a supporter of Obamacare, may well become a popular symbol of the reason to repeal it.

Outside of a lone, extremely disturbed man in a Tucson jail cell, there is no one who doesn’t wish Congresswoman Giffords well in her fight to recover from a gunshot wound to the head. 

But there’s something else that is, however uncomfortable, necessary for the rest of America to discuss. Thatsomething has nothing to do with talk radio, Fox News, Rush, Sean, Mark, Glenn, O’Reilly, Sheriff Dupnik, civility or gun control.

The issue at hand is the reality of Obamacare in practice.

More plainly put: Animal Farm has come to Arizona.

Animal Farm, the classic 1945 George Orwell best seller as the Cold War fight against Communism and socialism dawned, was the allegorical novel of animals (the socialists of the piece) capturing Manor Farm from the “drunken incompetent farmer” — men were the capitalists in the story. An old boar named Major gathers the animals together to tell of a dream in which all animals live together equally without human oppression, and his dream is codified after he dies into a set of principles called “Animalism.” A revolution ensues, the farmer is driven off, and Manor Farm is renamed by the revolutionaries who now run the place “Animal Farm.”

It was a thinly disguised story of the Soviet Union, the battle between capitalism and socialism described in the day as “a brilliant satire…a frightening view of the future.” After the death of Major, the animal revolution is led by younger pigs named Snowball, and Napoleon (the animal versions of Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin) who have “gained control of the revolution.” Then, as actually happened in the struggles for control of the real life Soviet “workers paradise” the animals “fought each other for the mastery” of the great animal (socialist) revolution. Eventually the story has certain of the animal revolution leadership becoming more like men — the pigs begin walking upright, wearing clothes, brandishing whips and drinking alcohol. They begin plotting with their human counterparts and eventually the rank-and-file animals are shocked to realize all of their “commandments” about animal equality are vanishing. They learn the hard way that all the wonderful socialistic rhetoric of animal equality aside, in fact the reality of socialism comes down to one iron reality:

“Some animals are more equal than others.”

The story wound up being a precise foreshadowing of what lay ahead for the Communist and socialist world and why, by 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the nations that composed what Ronald Reagan termed “an evil empire” collapsed.

The principle illustrated in the Orwell tale, coincidentally, is exactly the main topic following the new GOP-controlled House repeal of ObamaCare — and the Senate’s refusal to even discuss the issue.

Here’s a very cold fact.

The announcement by the Congresswoman’s family that they were moving her from Tucson to the TIRR (The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research) Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston this past Friday raises the obvious question about the Ruling Class medicine that is Obamacare.

Indeed, the very optimistic hospital bulletins that the Congresswoman is responding well to treatment — one MSNBC story from news wire reports said that Giffords’ attempts to give husband Mark Kelly a neck massage demonstrated “that his wife is improving and that her spirit and their personal bond remain strong…” doesn’t just raise a question, it begs the question. That question?

If Gabrielle Giffords were not part of the governing elite — the Ruling Class — with this serious of a wound, a gunshot to the brain — under ObamaCare would she be receiving this kind of A-triple plus treatment?

Or, would she instead be receiving the treatment President Obama himself insisted must be required for average Americans when he said:

“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit. That would be a pretty subjective decision to be making. I think we have to have rules…”

Rules. Government rules. And it is precisely Gabby Giffords’ “spirit” that is being cited in news stories as evidence of her progress. A clear violation of the President’s insistence that medical decisions can’t be “based on peoples’ spirit…we have to have rules.” Unless, apparently, one is Gabby Giffords — or, in fairness to Giffords — Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Member of the Ruling Class Gabby Giffords.

So let’s ask the question that is at the moment too challenging for some.. The question that went straight to the heart of Orwell’s Animal Farm warning.

If Congresswoman Giffords were not a 41-year-old Ruling Class Member of Congress but, say, an 81-year-old unknown middle-class woman in otherwise good health living in the Bronx and hit by the same gunshot wound to the head in a robbery, would she not be at risk of facing what Sarah Palin calls the “death panels” of Obamacare? Which is to say, government rationing? Instead of being transferred on an Air Force jet to Houston, accompanied by her surgeon, for decidedly expensive treatment (not to mention the transfer itself and the care already received) under Obamacare, wouldn’t she or her family be facing the decision that is implicit in President Obama’s own words that, well, there have to be rules about this kind of thing?

Instead of Obamacare, Giffords is being whisked to a facility that the Washington Post describes thusly. Giffords will have a private room “in the most private wing of the hospital.” Yet, in decided Animal Farm fashion, this is presented as the only “VIP” treatment she will receive. “We don’t have VIP here” says Gerard Francisco, whom the Post describes as “the rehabilitation center’s chief medical officer.” Then, without the slightest sense of irony, not unlike Animal Farm‘s Squealer presenting the latest propaganda from his Comrade boss Napoleon, the Post reports on what is to come for Giffords.

She was flown to Houston from Tucson, than taken by helicopter to the hospital. Upon arrival she received a check-up to see if she suffered any trauma during the trip. Once settled, Gifford will be working out in a specially designed gym (one of a half-dozen available in the facility.) There she will have full access to what Francisco proudly called his “toys — a bevy of high-tech exercise equipment, muscle stimulators and robotic devices designed to help patients regain muscle control, coordination and cognition.”

The Post kept going, writing glowingly of “the therapeutic pool, which includes a hydraulic lift to help injured patients into the water. There is a body-weight treadmill, on which patients are strapped to a harness that supports them while they walk (hospital staffers also provide assistance). There are special recumbent stationary bikes that pulse electrodes into patients to stimulate muscles. And there is a tilting table, to which patients who have trouble standing are strapped so they can slowly be adjusted into a standing position.” In sum, happily burbled Washington’s Ruling Class ObamaCare-supporting paper: “the atmosphere was not unlike that of a typical neighborhood health club.”


Added to all this is another, related news story out of the House. Freshman Representative Joe Walsh of Illinois — a Tea Party enthusiast who upset the GOP Establishment to win both the primary and a general election victory over Democrat incumbent Melissa Bean — has announced that he has refused the cushy health care coverage given to members of Congress.

Presumably the same plan or variation thereof that is now benefiting Congresswoman Giffords in her Animal Farmish stay at the Houston rehab hospital. Walsh, decidedly not wealthy and with a wife who has a pre-existing health condition, went out and bought his own plan — and also turned down the congressional pension plan. Said he: “I don’t think congressmen should get pensions or cushy health care plans,”

In concert with the treatment of Congresswoman Giffords, this will surely raise the question of why Members of Congress get fancy health coverage paid for by taxpayers in the first place. Being elected to Congress was never designed as a “job” in the sense that everyone else has employment (if that is, they have it in this rule by Obamanomics with its almost 10% unemployment rate). Giffords’ husband’s job as an astronaut and therefore as a NASA employee is easily considered a federal employee — a job. Hers, decidedly, is not. So the Walsh announcement raises a pointed question for his Republican colleagues — and especially his fellow freshman. When will they force Members of Congress to buy their own health plans as is Walsh? How strong is the tea in the Tea Party? Will there be a demand to throw Animal Farm-style health care for Members over the side of the ship as the original Boston Tea Party did with the literal tea of the day?

Again, everyone wishes the Congresswoman and her family well. But as the shock of this brutal episode recedes her treatment is already certain to make of her a poster child for the political abuses that will inevitably occur when politicians instead of doctors and patients are in charge of health care. Not to mention when the patient in question is herself a member of the political elite — the Ruling Class. Under these circumstances, every new bulletin about Congresswoman Giffords — just as the amazingly unself-conscious story about her rehabilitation in the Post demonstrates in spades — will be capable of unleashing charges of Ruling Class favoritism and elitism. Undermining the frantic attempts of the Obama administration and its congressional allies to keep the deeply unpopular program in place. 

Cases in point?

At the other end of the scale in Arizona recently were two decidedly non-Ruling Class men, Francisco Felix and Mark Price, both denied government-financed procedures under the state’s Medicaid program for cost purposes. Felix needed a liver transplant, Price a bone marrow operation. The government — in this case the state of Arizona — had to ration care for cost purposes. Precisely the death panel argument Sarah Palin has been mocked for making about Obamacare. So — with the government in charge of rationing care — the two men died. There was no fancy transit to a fancy hospital (non-VIP, but of course) somewhere else in America for Francisco or Felix. No “typical neighborhood health club” atmosphere designed to assist. No. What faced Francisco and Felix was death by government bureaucrat, a shocked Felix’s wife saying: “How does one person have the right to decide who’s going to live and who’s not?”

On Animal Farm, the elites have exactly that right.

Would the results have been different for Arizonans Francisco Felix and Mark Price if they were Washington and Arizona Ruling Class favorite Gabrielle Gifford?

What do you think?

In point of fact, even in the private health care system politicians have no hesitation in trying to skirt the existing rules. In October 2008, Fred Baron, the “King of Toxic Torts,” was told he had days to live. Struggling with a multiple myeloma since 2002, Baron also had connections — he was a considerable fundraiser for Democrats. in fact, it would be revealed that it was Baron who supplied cash to Rielle Hunter, the mistress of Baron’s friend John Edwards, allegedly to keep the then-pregnant mother of Edwards’ love-child quiet. With time running out, no less than Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi pressured the drug company Biogen to give Baron a drug not used for bone cancer — Tysbari — which doctors thought might help. The rules said no. But with Pelosi calling, the FDA is said to have pressured Biogen to reverse course. Baron got his drug, quantities of which were in small supply, but it didn’t help. He passed on anyway.

But Pelosi’s call and her results were a graphic illustration that in the world of Ruling Class medicine, some animals are more equal than others.

This is precisely the socialist philosophy so effectively illustrated by Orwell in Animal Farm — “some animals are more equal than others.” It is the American health care version of the old Soviet system where dachas — country houses — were doled out to the Soviet ruling elite, the nomenklatura, favorites who were senior bureaucrats, scientists, writers and so on. Were you part of the Soviet elite the government provided you with everything from a larger apartment to better clothes, food, drink and transportation. If you were unfortunate enough to be part of “the masses” — the Felix’s and Price’s of the Soviet Union — too bad. It was the reality of life in a hard core socialist system, a system graphically portrayed in Animal Farm.

As has been recently documented in minute detail by journalist Stanley Kurtz in his book Radical-in-Chief: Barack Obama and the Untold Story of American Socialism, what else could any reasonable American expect from an Obama health care plan? The President has spent his adult lifetime repeatedly associating himself with the intellectual underpinnings and the accompanying activists of the socialist world. Whether attending Socialist Scholars Conferences or Jeremiah Wright’s Black Liberation-style church, whether befriending the radical Bill Ayers or representing ACORN, whether he was reading Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward or sitting on the board of the far-left Woods Charitable Fund, the President’s devotion to the world described in Animal Farm is unquestionable. Not for nothing has Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann called Obamacare “the crown jewel of socialism.”

So it is not surprising that Obamacare is already taking America down the socialist road to a place where Gabby Giffords gets to live because she’s a well-known, well-connected politician of the Ruling Class — while Francisco Felix and Mark Price, average Americans with no political clout — had to die. And they died because the government — in this case the state of Arizona — did what all governments will do: it rationed care for budgetary reasons.

Is there any wonder Americans want Obamacare repealed? They are not simply requesting but demanding a free market health care system that provides high quality health care at a reasonable cost? Filled with competition, the ability to buy insurance across state lines, tort reform, letting states innovate as they see fit and the rest. The same system that they know has provided the abundant wealth of everything else in the country. They are all too acutely aware that they could be the next Felix or Price — trapped and dying in a suffocating set of government rules that cannot possibly have any other result than the cold, uncaring results provided, Animal Farm-style, to these two badly treated Arizona men.

George Orwell, of course, was British. As socialism was beginning to take over Britain at the end of the war, he wrote with urgency because he understood what was coming. Lest one think this increasing resemblance to Animal Farm is some peculiarity of Arizona, it is worth recalling yet again the saga of the British Linda O’Boyle. O’Boyle’s encounter — her fatal encounter — with the famously socialist Ruling Class-designed British health care service that had Orwell so concerned has been headlined in Britain if not, alas, here in America.

As with Arizona’s Felix and Price, O’Boyle was denied a particular treatment by the government for cost purposes. So she scraped up her savings and bought the drug anyway — at which point the government agency, furious, denied her any further “free treatment” — and she died.

The rules of Animalism had been broken, you see, and a British government bureaucrat somewhere was humiliated. So — hasta la vista, Linda O’Boyle.

On January 19, by a vote of 245-189 (as opposed to the 7 vote passage of 219-212), the new House of Representatives did what their voters had instructed them — in a not inconsiderable fury — to do. Repeal Obamacare.

The horrifying shooting in Tucson has, in a fashion that could not be anticipated, shone the spotlight on Arizona and three traumatic cases that foreshadow the reality of Obamacare. Through no fault of her own, Gabrielle Giffords’ every minutely recorded moment of treatment will add to the pressure for repeal. The most ironic of all: the better she does in the recovery process the more Obamacare’s flaws will show.

Said the New York Times in 1945 — the New York Times of 1945 was considerably different than the leftist propaganda machine of today — Animal Farm provided “a devastating attack on the pig-headed, gluttonous and avaricious rulers in an imaginary totalitarian state.” 

No one is remotely suggesting Gabby Giffords is a wannabe Napoleon. The heart of a nation goes out to her and to her family, wishing her a speedy recovery.

But it is a fact that the devastating attack that so gravely wounded her and so many others is now going to shine a fierce spotlight on the gross deficiencies inherent in the Ruling Class medicine that is Obamacare.

And as every day goes by it will become increasingly clear that Gabby Giffords isn’t from Arizona at all.

She moved to Animal Farm.

Where the rest of us are supposed to join her.

No thanks.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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