Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Last year I wrote a piece for this blog that expressed my feelings about the Democrat's unsubtle plan to nationalize health care ("This Time I Don't Care Anymore, Let the Zombies Take Over Medicine"). Well, I have a confession to make.

I care. I care a lot.

You see, I have personal knowledge as a physician of how awful government medicine is; all the restrictions on physicians' clinical judgments; all the decisions made for supposedly "scientific" reasons, which are really made because of cost and cost alone. If you want to know how things will work out under Obama's health care debacle, you need look no further than the VA Health Care System, which I judge to be many years behind the standard of care demanded in private settings; and even more backwards than most County and State Health Programs.

They mean well, of course. Reality-deprived morons do-gooders like Obama, Pelosi, and most of the Democratic party (and not a few Republicans) always do. As Thomas Sowell notes in a recent column:
There is so much political spin, and so many numbers games being played, when it comes to medical care, that we have to go back to square one and the simplest common sense, in order to get some rational idea of what government-run medical care means. In particular, we need to examine the claim that the government can "bring down the cost of medical care."

The most basic fact is that it is cheaper to remain sick than to get medical treatment. What is cheapest of all is to die instead of getting life-saving medications and treatment, which can be very expensive.

Despite these facts, most of us tend to take a somewhat more parochial view of the situation when it is we ourselves who are sick or who face a potentially fatal illness. But what if that decision is taken out of your hands under ObamaCare and is being made for you by a bureaucrat in Washington?

We won't know what that leads to until the time comes. As Nancy Pelosi said, we will find out what is in the bill after it has passed. But even now, after ObamaCare has been passed, not many people want to read its 2,400 pages. Even if you did, you would still not know what it would be like in practice, after more than 150 boards and commissions issue their specific regulations.

Our veterans already know what it would be like in practice. It doesn't matter how caring or how professional the doctors, nurses and staff are when the system in which they have to operate is basically micromanaged by professional bureaucrats, unimaginably insane and often completely disconnected from reality.

But the American media don't tell you about such things when they are gushing over the wonders of "universal health care" that will "bring down the cost of medical care."

Listen, the truth is that if you want excellent health care, you have to pay for it. The difference between a 5-star restaurant and McDonald's isn't just the price; the difference is the quality. Don't get me wrong, sometimes I actually like going to McDonald's. But it is when I choose to go. What if it was the only choice? And, do you imagine that Obamacare is more equivalent to the 5-star place? Chances are, it will not even have the quality-control practiced by a McDonald's; who, after all, are in a very competitive market and understands that they have to have a good product to attract customers (or, at least a better product than their competitors).

Americans get the latest pharmaceutical drugs, sometimes years before those drugs are available to people in Britain or in other countries where the government runs the medical system. Why? Because the latest drugs cost more and it is cheaper to let people die.

The "latest drugs" at the VA have generally been on the market for years before they get on the government formulary (especially in psychiatry, which I know best).

As I wrote in "An Illness of the Soul: Cuba Health Comes to America"
It will take Obamacare a little time to equal the degrading and horrific conditions that characterize health care in countries like Communist Cuba. But I suppose that is the goal. A few years ago I wrote about the Cuban health care system. I reprint that piece below. Not much has changed in the intervening years, I fear. There is still an illness of the soul; a progressively fatal disease that destroys the spirit and scars the body and soul; and this is the disease that the pimps of Obamacare have now loosed on this country.

I suppose we can look forward to more of Moore's spin as our healthcare system goes down the toilet....

And, how pathetic is it that Cuba's zombi-in-chief, the not-quite-dead-yet Fidel, feels gratified that America has finally measured up to his standards?

[ Political Cartoons by Glenn Foden ]

To repeat myself, I CARE.** So let's do everything in our power to repeal this obamination that only looks worse the closer it gets to implementation.

But, if you want spin instead of the best possible medical care, then John Stossel has some good news for this sad and clueless administration:
Good News: Obamacare to Create 16,500 New Jobs!

The bad news?
(A) new analysis by Republican staffers on the Joint Economic and the House Ways & Means Committees estimates the IRS will have to hire an additional 16,500 workers to "collect, examine and audit new tax information mandated on families and small businesses in the (health care) 'reconciliation' bill."

Mark Steyn writes:

This will be the biggest expansion of the IRS since World War II - and that's change you can believe in. This is what "health" "care" "reform" boils down to: Fewer doctors, longer wait times but more bureaucrats.

So, medical spin? Or, medical care? Really, it's your choice.

**NOTE: just because I care passionately about this issue doesn't mean I will stick around to see it destroy my profession. I'm at the VA now because I support the mission of providing medical care to our veterans; and I will do this for only as long as I am able to deal with the systemic insanity.

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