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The Self Shelf: Journey to a future under Obamacare

Published: November 6, 2009
Section: Opinions


With all of the confusion concerning the possible outcome of the health care bill, I decided to go 20 years into the future in order to discover what would happen. (Disclaimer–This article pertains to a purely fictional premise and any resemblances to actual people or events are quite intentional and highly ironic).

Upon going to the future (via a Delorean, of course), the first thing I noticed was that everything was almost exactly the same as the present, save for the style of cars and clothing. While this was slightly disappointing (I was really looking forward to flying cars), I quickly remembered my purpose and set to interviewing the local populace (after, of course, informing them that I knew nothing of American history beyond 2009).

I asked the first man I talked to, Mr. Read, about the outcome of the health care struggle 20 years prior.

“Where have you been? Obamacare was passed by Congress in 2010, shortly after the dissenting senators mysteriously disappeared at a conference with the American Medical Association,” Mr. Read said.

I asked him what the plan included.

“Well, the main facet of the plan was a government-run public option. There were other smaller things, but this definitely overshadowed the others,” Mr. Read explained.

I was about to press him on the importance of the public option when a loudspeaker started playing a song that sounded suspiciously close to the Soviet National Anthem. Mr. Read stated that this was the call to something called the “Patriots’ Summit.”

“Shortly after the health care plan passed, the government has set up “Patriot Summits,” half- hour long propaganda sessions. They’re purely optional of course, but attending them really helps your chance of passing the L.I.E.,” purported Mr. Read.

Seeing the puzzled look on my face, Mr. Read quickly explained himself.

“Leisure Integrity Evaluations are the name given to end of life counseling. Their stated purpose was to evaluate the elderly to determine their need for psychological counseling. However, it quickly became apparent not only that the L.I.E. was for everyone, but that a poor result with L.I.E. meant certain death.”

“But how could this happen?” I exclaimed.

“Well, when the healthcare reform was passed, end of life counseling for the elderly was a part of the bill. No one suspected that this meant the government would counsel the elderly to end their lives. It later expanded to everyone,” responded Mr. Read.

As the gravity of what the man had said resonated within me, I noticed the music steadily increasing in volume. When I asked what the song was, he referred to it as “Born in the USA.” Apparently, the government had chosen the same title as the popular Bruce Springsteen song in order to elicit support for itself.

“Now when Czar Obama designated-” Mr. Read began before I quickly cut him off.

“Czar Obama? When did he become Czar Obama? In 2009, he was closer to a state mascot than a state monarch–he couldn’t get anything done,” I interjected.

“Well, once the health care bill was passed, it was a matter of months before Obama seized absolute power. Congress became merely a stamping ground for the president’s policies and the U.S. Supreme Court was replaced by the president’s newly formed Average Citizens Organizational Representative Network. Oh yes, and Obama also declared war on and invaded Poland. He rationalized it by saying something about living up to people’s expectations, but I didn’t know what he meant,” replied Mr. Read.

Shocked by this strange news, I was caught in thought before Mr. Read started walking away.

“Where are you going?” I asked.

“Well, I have to be at the summit within 20 minutes. Come with me, we can take a government Freedom Taxi there in a couple of minutes,” Mr. Read said.

After a 20-minute drive in the taxi, which was filled with Obama “Hope” posters, we arrived at an arena-like building. Upon entering the building, our names were asked. I replied with my real name, which apparently satisfied the registrar. At least I was still alive 20 years into the future.

We took our seats and looked out upon the center of the arena. Suddenly, the lights dimmed and “Are You Ready For This” started playing over the loudspeakers. A light flashed, and a cloud of smoke covered the stage. Then, as the music dimmed, and the lights went up, there was President Obama (looking no different than he did in 2009).

When I inquired as to how or why President Obama was here, Mr. Read said that “This is not Obama. This is merely a stand-in who will make a speech here today. No one knows where the president truly is at any time, but there are always a number of doubles across the country performing ‘Patriot Summits.'”

After this, the Obama double began his speech. I would relay the exact contents of the speech, but the ludicrous nature of the speech itself belies any attempt to convey it exactly. The doppelganger began by talking about how much America had progressed in the past 20 years due to the government takeover of what seemed to me like every industry in the country.

After about 15 minutes of propaganda, Obama’s twin started talking about how the “population quota” would need to be further reduced, resulting in more L.I.E. testing as well as more premature departures (evidently how the government referred to those who failed L.I.E. testing). He then proceeded to lambast his critics for being “un-American” and for trying to undermine the “spirit of America.” When he finished his speech, another flash of light erupted and he was gone.

When I left the arena with Mr. Read, I felt sick to my stomach. Feeling faint, I passed out in the middle of the sidewalk. I woke up in a hospital bed with two nurses tending to me. Asking how I had gotten here, one of them responded that even though I didn’t have insurance, I was covered under the government plan.

Looking around me, I saw a ragged-looking old man in a sickbed. When I inquired about him, the nurse told me that, before the health care reform, he had suffered from schizophrenia and lived on the street. He couldn’t possibly pay for insurance and he couldn’t qualify for Medicaid because the government stated that he had no disability. Apparently, when the health care reform passed, it was too late to do anything for the man, but at least it allowed him to live in dignity.

Upon being given a clean bill of health, I took my leave of the hospital. I met Mr. Read in the waiting room and told him that I had to go back to my home. When he asked about my home and why I hadn’t mentioned it before, I told him I lived in Rhode Island. There were no further questions on his part.

I found my Delorean, punched in 2009, and went back to the present. As I drove back to my house, I passed a group of protestors holding signs denouncing President Obama for his “socialist anti-Americanism.”

“If only they knew,” I thought, “if only they knew.”