It was bad enough having spent a goodly portion of the summer being referred to as a brown-shirted piece of Astroturf without Obama pulling this stunt.. In the rambling dog days of health care, beginning with Michael Jackson’s $100k monthly Propofol service, and tumbling through the president’s scattershot attacks on Big Insurance, Big Drug, hospitals, and doctors, the proles are doubtless leery of any good coming from the medical industry. And now the Big O has to go and spill the beans.The amputation industry began before antiquity, when the first surgeon probably fed target limbs to a restrained saber tooth and then prayed to the stars for some sort of universal care. In the modern age, amputations were all the rage in the days of fighting sail, where the clash of wooden ships and iron men tested the mettle of the latter with no shortage of work for the (hopefully) drunken sawbones. In 1786 an article in the London Medical Journal recommended delaying the amputation of limbs shattered by ball and splinter at least a few hours, in hopes of improving survival. Ignoring the cost to his colleagues in favor of a few crippled sailors, this early busybody must have been some sort of Admiralty plant designed to contain costs. A quick saw, a slap of hot pitch off a waiting brush, off to the hammock for some laudanum and rum, and God Save the King. Things got a bit more sophisticated by the American Civil War, when Dr. Samuel Cooper’s text advised specifically how to cleave to the bone, which integuments to sever, and how to better preserve the remaining limb. A lower leg division would be closed “so as to make the line of their union not transverse, but obliquely perpendicular.” Unlike this approach to preserving function, Obama has abandoned the oblique in favor of an approach directly transverse to the Union, and he has now begun the destruction of yet another industry.
At his 8/14 town hall audience in New Hampshire, Obama bemoaned the poor pay for primary care doctors who are paid not much to manage complex diabetic patients. Blowing the lid off of a sweet deal, this gifted orator obviously in command of his facts noted "but if that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that's $30k, $40k, $50k immediately that the surgeon is reimbursed". My heart sank.
With such a lucrative haul, how many foot amputation clinic chains must have been in the planning or construction stages, providing jobs to countless thousands in a nation whose rising glycemic index is so inversely proportional to her unemployment rate? What about the brokers who, emulating our federal government, sought to tie their returns to these high-yield chop-property investments? Granted the ultra-snob kickback, I mean, reimbursement rate of $50k per flipper might be a bit excessive, but even thirty-a-foot could keep a diligent doc in beer and cigarettes. But now that the word is out, every family practitioner and pediatrician (those not busy doing pricey tonsillectomies, according to the prez) will beeline toward the nearest weekend foot removal seminar, eager to cash in. Soon the bills will come piling into Medicare/Medicaid, necessitating some sort of cost containment. As the doctors are paid less, they will drift on to other things and the J-1 visa exemptions will again be widened to meet the growing consumer demand to achieve power scooter status. Obama and his henchmen will rail against the amputators’ junkets to Las Vegas, and a new round of convention depression will hit Sin City. Soon we will face the sort of shortages predicted for the other, apparently less-lucrative specialties. And they called Dan Quayle an idiot for misspelling potato.