There has been a lot of fascist/Nazi name calling recently, and this has included the health-care debate. When not enough “right-wingers” are intolerant, the Dems even paint swastikas and call themselves Nazis, just to emphasize how intolerant we really are.
During the debate leading up to the passage of Obamacare, Barney Frank accused a fellow Democrat of being from another planet when she asked him why the Obama administration was adopting the Nazi program for health care. (Considering the years of “Bush as Hitler” bashing, Barney’s sudden high dudgeon was pretty ironic.) And now we have the “Trump as Hitler” bashing. But all this has lead me to ask: Apart from atrocity experimentation on inmates, what was the Nazi health program?
For an in depth review there is no better source than “National Health Care: Medicine in Germany 1918-1945” by Marc Micozzi, M.D., written for the November 1993 Freeman magazine. Socialized medicine was inaugurated by Otto Von Bismarck to keep the German populace from voting for an even more socialist government. After World War I, the German government’s health-care system purposely discouraged private practice, for the express purpose of instituting universal coverage and standardization. Prevention of disease was emphasized over the treatment of disease, and doctors made a significant philosophic shift – from working solely for and in the interest of their patients, to working for the government and the collective good. Although they may not have realized the significance of this at the time, this shift was necessary for what followed under the Nazis. As Dr. Micozzi puts it, “Politicized medicine is not a sufficient cause of the mass extermination of human beings, but is seems to be a necessary cause.”
In the Weimar Republic, preventive medicine was successful in improving the overall health of the “volk.” But, as economic troubles began, predictably, the state-run health system was gutted until it provided little care, but lots of regulation. Efficiency and cost containment became the order of the day. When given a choice of treating the young producers or the non-productive elderly, imbeciles and disabled children, the government (using expert panels) chose care for the most productive.
We think of eugenics as a Nazi product, but actually, it was the fashionable science of the progressive movement of the 1920s and ’30s. In America, Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood and darling of the left, preached her brand of genetic selection. She believed in racial purification through abortion, segregation and forced sterilization. Sanger also wrote in her books about euthanasia of the “feeble-minded.” At the same time in Germany, 20 years before Hitler, the phrase “Life Unworthy of Living” was coined by a German physician in a pamphlet on eugenics, and the debate about physician-assisted suicide was raging. Sound familiar?
By the time the Nazis came to power, the euthanasia fields had been plowed and the grain had been sown. All it took was efficient Nazi organization and a little push to unleash the killing machine we associate with Nazi medicine. Death camps aside, however, for most Germans, Nazi medicine looked remarkably like Obamacare: Preventive medicine, cost containment, efficiency (God knows those Prussians were efficient), back-to-nature healthy lifestyle and avoidance of smoking. Hitler himself was the worst kind of anti-smoker: an ex-smoker. (He completely kicked the habit, unlike a former leader we know.) Hitler’s research grants led to some of the first documentation associating smoking with cancer. Doctors joined the Nazi Party in droves and were per capita the largest group supporting Hitler’s regime. They appreciated the Nazi Party’s “wellness” approach to health care, but they were also bribed by being paid for vaccinations and per capita patient care reimbursement. Prior to Hitler, 60 percent of the doctors were Jewish. When the Jews were forced out of the practice of medicine, it left a lot of room at the top. Medical administration for the doctors left alive in Germany proved lucrative.
No one is saying that Obama is Hitler – well, OK, maybe the lady at Barney Frank’s event was – but Obamacare is right out of the Weimar Republic. And those who whispered in his ear are eugenicists redux. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg echoed Margaret Sanger when she said, “Frankly, I thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations we don’t want too many of.” (Italics mine, scary words hers.) John Holdren, Obama’s science adviser, stated in his 1973 book that a newborn child “will ultimately develop into a human being if he or she is properly fed and socialized” – i.e., not only is a fetus fair game, but infants as well, since neither is human. Peter Singer, a “bioethicist” from Princeton, said he would kill a baby “if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole.” He has said that newborns are not sentient beings. Singer and Holdren may not be killers, but their philosophy that dehumanizes some segment of society will allow others to be.
At the Nuremberg doctor trials, a witness testified that there was no problem getting doctors for the euthanasia program – they volunteered. I always wondered how doctors could have done that. I do not wonder now. In the Netherlands today, the No. 1 cause of death of children under 10 years old is euthanasia by a physician. And these doctors are the grandchildren and children of Dutch doctors who went to the camps themselves rather than participate in the Nazi horror. What happened between World War II and now was moral incrementalism. It began when physicians – in contravention of the Hippocratic Oath – served not their patients, but the state. Discussions about cost effectiveness, efficiency and coverage miss the essence of the problem.
Government medicine is evil. It makes citizens into dependent children, and it turns once-honorable doctors into tools of the state. Just ask yourself this: When you are in your sick bed, whom do you trust at your bedside – a private physician you have hired or a doctor sent from the government?
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