Conclusion of yesterday’s column.
Actually, I call these ‘unstated premises,’ but Dr. Berwick is different from advocates of socialized medicine we have seen in the past. He engages in no pretense. He doesn’t try to slip in the assumptions of socialized medicine while preserving the façade of fee-for-service, private enterprise or the private practice of medicine. He openly states his view that the government is the moral and political authority when it comes to the lives, the fortunes and the very health of individuals. Incredibly, he openly states that health itself is something to be redistributed by the government. Your health—your very well-being—belongs to him, and a small number like him who manage to seize power.
It’s remarkable to think back to the days, about fifteen years ago, when ‘managed care’ was taking over the heavily regulated private health insurance industry in the United States. Americans everywhere were outraged at the idea of profit-making third parties making determinations about whether or when to have surgery or other kinds of medical treatment. Managed care gradually went by the wayside, less because of political edict and more because people rejected it in the marketplace.
It defies comprehension that so many Americans, based on support for preserving and expanding Medicare and Medicaid if not for ObamaCare itself, are prepared to accept the edicts of a government bureaucrat in determining the course of all their medical treatment.
Of course, ObamaCare will be gradually phased-in over the next 3 or 4 years, and that has generated much confusion. Also, ObamaCare does not overtly and immediately shut down all private practice in medicine. But the taxes and regulations in the law are so onerous that nobody expects private insurance companies to long survive. Private health insurance premiums are already rising, and when the process is complete nobody will be able to afford any insurance except the government kind.
Dr. Berwick stands ready to control and command from his throne in Washington DC. If this isn’t a basis for revolution—for an overthrow not of the American system originally created, but of the American government as we now know it—then I don’t know what is. Without health, there is no freedom. Once government has monopolistic control over your body, you can expect that control over the mind—i.e., freedom of speech and ideas—cannot be far behind. That is, unless and until Americans rise up with the powers still available to them and say ‘STOP!
Everybody seems to want freedom in medicine, but nobody seems to want a free market in medicine. It’s going to be really interesting, to say the least, to watch Americans as they begin to experience less freedom in medicine than ever before—in fact, no real freedom at all. Maybe then, and only then, will they yearn for the control and practice and, yes, the pricing of medicine to be handed over to doctors and patients in the marketplace. The ‘marketplace’ simply means the doctors’ and patients’ freedom to communicate with one another through a competitive pricing system which naturally evolves over time, as in other industries such as automobiles and computers.
That pricing structure is now being replaced with people who work in government offices in Washington DC, and—worse still—their corrupt political bosses in the White House and Congress. Socialized medicine has arrived. It will take a year or two to implement, but it’s descending on us like a cloak of death and destruction. Other nations, such as Canada and Britain, have not yet thrown it off. Will America?
For reference, see Investor’s Business Daily, ‘The President’s One-Man Death Panel,’ 7/8/10