SCHOLL: Thumbs up, thumbs down

October 30, 2013 

They marched in one by one. I saw a group of five once. Some sobbed. Fear radiated from their eyes as those from an abused dog. They approached the tall paneled bench where nine faces looked down upon them. Then they turned left or they turned right, then they left the room.

In ancient Rome, it was Caesar who lifted his thumb or he let it drop. Now we lived in a democratic society, a republic, where we vote and elect people to go vote for us. There were nine who stared down and a majority voted for the Godsend thumbs up, or they voted the “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” thumbs down. The smile of God descended on those who turned right; the inferno sucked in those who must turn left. The Death Panel had spoken.

The Republican Party was the first (hmm ... and the last) to warn the country of this panel of nine who would decide who lives and who dies. I’ve heard nothing of this warning in recent times. Obamacare was going to build paneled benches across the country, but now that Obamacare is upon us, the talk forgets the dreaded death panels, in favor of the terrible website which needs some tweaking.

There is the mantra of losing jobs everywhere and financial losses deep as an abyss. The job loss will be almost as much as those jobs sent overseas by big corporations, the same corporations who have become “people” by a vote of a different nine. Some Obamacare critics still say people will die, but it is only occasionally now. The death panel has lost its scepter, it would seem; now it’s the ungodly website that casts the ugly frown upon us. No one really knows about the jobs, but we all will be watching.

You know, we could tweak this Affordable Health Care Act. Or we can thumb it down, be it a glitch in a website or whatever problem comes next. Tweaking is a good thing. Thumbing it down will take a lot of work. Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security all needed tweaking and they worked out well for the most part. Even the Prophet of Doom, Ronald Reagan, in 1961, called Medicare “socialized medicine” which would be a foothold to usher in socialism throughout the country. In 1980, as president, he tweaked to improve Medicare, including limiting how much hospitals and doctors could charge. Big government had the better foothold in 1980, it seems. The tweaked Medicare is very popular today.

Too many people trying to access the Obamacare site is crippling it. At least Obamacare is popular, if it can crash a wesite. Many are hoping to finally get insurance after they have been denied by private insurance companies or they simply couldn’t afford it. Mitt Romney claimed no need for national health care. People had the safety net of an emergency room. But those needing weekly chemotherapy searched in vain for the chemo treatment in the emergency room. Many of those people now know they will have the thumbs raised when they need medical help. Before, they dreaded the left turn.

It is incredible how much Sen. Ted Cruz of today sounds like the 1961 Ronald Reagan. You would not know which one wrote which of the two speeches. Reagan was not proud of his 1961 speech when he debated Jimmy Carter. He answered Carter’s charge by insisting he was not against a health plan for the elderly. He simply preferred different legislation for health care over Medicare. Oddly, he never mentioned the other legislation in his 1961 prediction of doom for American society.

The hordes attacking the Affordable Health Care website are not attacking; they are hugging it. Unfortunately the website was too feeble to handle the many hugs. To be fair, Republicans like Cruz and the tea party, could have/would have given the same thumbs up to these masses with their plan. Wait, there was no Republican plan. The panel was secure. The path to the left was neatly paved.

Tom Scholl is a resident of Macon. His email address is

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