First Published Nov 2010 in Orthopreneur
There are many reasons to avoid government medicine. Cost is one. Although cited as a reason in favor of government intervention, does anyone with at least an eighth grade education really think the government will save money by providing more efficiency and effectiveness than the free market? Has it in any other area? With all its regulation, the same government that brought you the $600 toilet seat brought you the $18 aspirin. (I checked, and that is the going price in our facility which accepts Medicare). And, then we could discuss the huge moral issues at stake here when doctors become agents of the state. Few today remember the conclusion of the Nuremburg Doctor Trial wherein they hung the Nazi doctors responsible for the euthanasia program and experimentation on prisoners. Allied prosecutors concluded that German doctors were not intrinsically evil, but rather, their fault lay in working for the government. Only 18 years before the implementation of Medicare, these prosecutors all agreed with the words of Leo Alexander of the American team when he opined “We should never let doctors work for the government again.”
Another concern, and the one I wish to discuss today, is how government medicine-- by its very nature-- insures mediocrity in our profession.
In the big scheme of things government induced mediocrity is demonstrated easily. Politicians and the elite may let the common folk get “average” care, but they themselves want EXCELLENT care. Which is why two prime ministers of Canada snuck across the border in the dark of night to come to the USA for their own medical care. If government medicine was so great why didn’t they stay home? When Boris Yeltsin, needed heart surgery he employed American trained doctors, and even then flew over Dr. DeBakey to the Soviet Union to supervise, because he knew what Ayn Rand had written that, “It is not safe to trust your life to a man whose life you’ve throttled”.