Well, the guys in the black robes have chosen statism over freedom once again – Obamacare is upheld in the Supreme Court. How can people be free when they are dependent on the government for their very health?
I for one am not surprised at the ruling. After all who benefits? Certainly not you and I, because the individual has no lobby that can match the lobbies of big insurance, big Pharma and big hospital associations.
Who benefits? Well, hospital stocks surged 8 percent at the news of Obamacare being upheld. And just a few weeks ago (in anticipation of Obamacare being upheld?), I got a notice from Blue Cross and Blue Shield that my health premium was going up 24 percent – and that's on top of the previous years' raises of about 30 percent. Big Pharma benefits as medicine prices rise astronomically. Even my cat's vet noted that the medicines he uses on animals have increased vastly in cost. In the case of a sedating agent, one he has used for decades, the price went from $8 a vial to over $40 a vial – if he can get it at all. The veterinarians, like we physicians, are seeing shortages previously unknown. Why is all this happening? Because monopolies always cause price increases and shortages. A free market fills demand with supply. Econ 101. And Obamacare – read Medicare on Steroids – is a government monopoly on medical care.
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The hospitals are clearly in bed with the Obamacare oligarchs and expect to profit. Witness the Wall Street response.
And let's call this what it really is – fascism. Fascism is by definition an economic arrangement wherein government partners with private industries, choosing winners and losers. Governments under fascism control their economy and ultimately the behavior of their citizens through taxation and regulation. The individual appears to have ownership of his property, but is limited in its use due to government regulations.
Every CEO of every hospital in America should read "Hell's Cartel" by Diarmuid Jeffreys. It is the sad history of IG Farben – the German company that was, at the beginning of World War II, the largest chemical conglomerate in the world. Before Hitler was elected, the Nazis kept knocking on the door of the board of IG Farben asking for contributions. The board was comprised of mostly chemical engineers who were generally apolitical. But they got tired of the constant begging for money, so to make them go away the CEO of Farben gave the Nazis a pretty good chunk of Deutschmarks, thinking they wouldn't bother him any more. And in the off chance the Nazis would win, then he thought IG Farben would have a seat at the table. (Where have we heard that reasoning?)
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Lest anyone think the actions of an individual firm don't count, the result was the tragedy of World War II because that single contribution really made the Nazi win possible – they were down and out without that infusion of cash. But beyond that was the economic and moral outcome of the company. At first, IG Farben – now a favorite son of the Nazi regime – prospered. Government money poured into armaments, and chemical plants were on overdrive. The Farben guys probably plugged their ears eyes and nose while they picked up the money, but pick up the money they did – by the bucketful.
One of the small subsidiaries of IG Farben was Degesch – a small company that made insecticides. By the end of the war, 85 percent of the profit of IG Farben came from one chemical – Zyklon B. Now, in spite of later denials, the company chiefs clearly knew what the Nazis used the Zyklon B for. By the end of the war, one of the board members of Farben was literally stepping over dead bodies at Auschwitz to obtain measurements for a new synthetic rubber plant. But Degesch (and its big motherhouse Farben) had a choice: They could keep producing Zyklon B and thereby stay afloat and return profit for their shareholders, which they did, or they could have chosen not to further produce the gas for the death chambers and go under – and maybe incur the fatal wrath of the Nazi regime. On balance, the entire profit made by cooperation with the government was certainly overshadowed by the destruction the company endured. Not a few of its workers and families were killed by war. Board members' sons were not spared. Some of the chiefs ended up in prison (the head of Degesch receiving five years and others the death penalty), and the company was seen to be culpable for crimes against humanity.
Now, why do I bring this up? Like Degesch, 75-85 percent of income to hospitals comes in various forms from the federal government. Those dollars are already coming with strings and regulations upon regulations. The one difference between Obamacare and Medicare is that Medicare was socialism by stealth. But the Obamacare architects make no bones about their desire to see a one-party national health type payment system a la Britain or Canada. And the money expended for medical care under such a system – much like the German system in WWII – is done on the basis of age and productivity. Even the U.N. has complained that such systems kill old people by neglect. So what will your local hospital do when the government decrees that they will no longer pay for transferring 90-year-olds to higher level care? Maybe they will accept that. Then the age will be 85, then 75 – then maybe they will not pay for any treatment for a 90-year-old, or people who are not productive.
Well, you get the picture. When you no longer pay taxes but are a debit to the government ledger, what will they deem you are worth? And will hospitals just keep going along with all this to get along and stay afloat? Or will they recognize that this is not just about money and regulations but that they and their actions have moral consequences? Will the CEOs and CFOs stand on principle for their patients? I see no evidence generally of the latter. In today's world, when the choice is compliance with money coming in or non-compliance with the money drying up, hospital systems continue to bed with the government to the detriment of quality health care.
Sadly, I do not see us ending well. I do not see medical care being given in the future according to the sacred principles of Hippocrates – to put patients before all else, to do the best you can for the patient and not for some nebulous third-party payer or social entity.
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I just attended a medical school graduation where the graduating doctors took an oath that included the oath to patient privacy. But I knew, if they did not, that the oath now means nothing. The minute they start their internships, they will begin putting all their patients' most private information into an electronic database that is pumped out to unelected government bureaucrats who have no allegiance to patient privacy. We citizens, doctors and patients must give up our own handouts and recognize that a medical system based on theft of one individual for the benefit of another is immoral. We must recognize the inherent evil in medical utilitarianism wherein I can sacrifice your care for the greater good of more or younger people. We must not ask the government for health care or any other subsidy, but instead restore freedom by saying no to government schemes, by unelecting the oligarchs and again embracing the principles of free market economics in medicine and in all facets of life. It's now or never.