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Call a Code Blue! Medicine in America is in cardiac arrest.
If the election results are to be believed, the majority of Americans do not trust themselves and their highly trained physicians to make decisions about their health. Rather, they have relinquished total control of their medical care, including 14 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product to the same crew of incompetents who crashed the housing market, who poured billions into business failures such as Solyndra and who see food stamps as supporting a jobs-growth program.
I am a practicing physician and surgeon, with over 30 years experience in hands-on patient care. I have seen firsthand the march to socialism, and the systematic destruction of the noble profession of medicine. And, believe me, we are at the end game.
None of this is by accident. Government control of health care has nothing to do with the purported goals of improving quality, expanding access and decreasing cost – when has government ever improved these in any business? No, this is about power. After all, what is more precious than a person’s health? Politicians who seek power, therefore, see “health care” as a fast track to their goal.
The first government-run health system was introduced in the late 19th century in Germany by Kaiser Wilhelm, for totally self-serving reasons. At the time, his regime was threatened by the Social Democrats, and the Kaiser’s advisors suggested beating the leftists at their own game by giving the average German something that would make him dependent on the crown. The choice? They instituted government funding for doctors. Young physicians could supplement their income by applying to be a “panel” physician and would be paid for treating the rural poor, for giving vaccines and generally dealing with public health issues (think Medicaid).
For nearly 40 years the system worked well. Kaiser Wilhelm remained in power, and these stipends encouraged doctors to practice in underserved areas of the country.
But predictably, to paraphrase Margaret Thatcher, the monarchy ran out of other people’s money. Between the cost of World War I, reparations and the worldwide stock market collapse, by 1930 little was left of the medical reforms except paperwork and regulations (which seem never to go away, even in hard times).
The worst result of this venture, however, was the destruction of the ethics of private practice. Physicians, instead of acting in the best interest of individual patients, became partners of the state. They were used to taking orders and filling out forms for government functionaries, so it was a very small leap for them to work under the Nazis and to become integral players in the Nazi death machine.
Across the Baltic, the Russian communist Vladimir Lenin, too, understood the role of medicine when he opined, “Medical care is the keystone in the arch of socialism.”
One of the first acts of the new Bolshevik government was to nationalize health care – again, not out of altruistic concern for the masses of Russian peasants, but to centralize control over the population and over physicians, who tended to be free thinkers and well respected by the citizens.
Historically, however, in the absence of governmental collapse (e.g. war-torn Germany or the fall of the Soviet Union), there is no nation that has ever reverted from a nationalized, government-run health service back to a free market system. Once adopted, single payer, government health care becomes the sacred cow of a nation’s legislature. They may debate funding allocations, i.e. who gets what, they may complain about shortages, wait times and cost to the state, but they never mention turning back the clock and reverting to the traditional, patient-centered, free market medicine. Once it’s over … it’s over.
In future “The Weekly Prescription” columns, we will explore the truth of government health care around the world and what we have to look forward to in the coming years. We will address steps individuals can take to protect themselves medically when the system fails to help them. We will discuss latest scientific breakthroughs in longevity and wellness. And we will discuss how medicine can be saved.
But today, we must admit to having lost a major battle. When it comes to America and socialized health care, we are no longer fighting on the beaches, the enemy is in our back yards.
Nancy Pelosi didn’t need to read the bill, because she knew the details didn’t matter. The goal of Obamacare is to take away what’s left of our medical freedom and give it to the oligarchs inside the beltway. And a majority of voting Americans agreed.
There is no better summation than that of Charlie Reese when he wrote years ago, “There’s no dishonor in being forced by a superior power into slavery, but it is an eternal disgrace to voluntarily surrender one’s liberty for a filthy bowl of oatmeal and promise of security by liars.”