Like everyone else, my health insurance is a great source of concern.
I remember as a kid that our family doctor, Dr. Finkle, used to make house calls if you couldn’t make it to his office.
This all changed, it seems to me, right about the mid-60s when Medicare was enacted and came under the control of the Washington, D.C. political establishment.
The government’s move to federalize control of health care happened not too long after Congress decided that personal insurance costs would no longer be deductible and only businesses could take a deduction.
Since then there has been no end of Congressional tampering and tinkering in its efforts to correct the deficiencies it created.
Ultimately, in a stupendous exercise of the partisan political power to create a complete federal government takeover of the health system the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was inflicted on the American people.
It was never intended to protect the patients nor be affordable. But it was the next step in forcing a health care system in which everyone’s life would come under the absolute power of the federal government.
Here we find ourselves, trapped in a health insurance system trapped in a death spiral.
It was all so predictable. In fact, it was foreseen.
In 1985, Dr. Leonard Peikoff delivered a lecture on The Death of A Profession.
He noted that “America’s medical system is the envy of the globe.”
He made his point: “Ladies and gentlemen, if I knew nothing about today’s world but the nature of our politicians and the philosophy represented by the medical profession, I would predict an inevitable clash, a catastrophic cash, between the two: between the government and doctors. On purely theoretical grounds, I would predict the destruction of the doctors by the government…,” he said.
“To understand what is happening in medicine today, we must go back to the beginning, which in this case is 1965, the year when Medicare and Medicaid were finally pushed through Congress by Lyndon Johnson,” he said.
“Those of us who opposed the Johnson plan argued at the time that government intervention in medicine is immoral in principle and disastrous in practice,” he said.
"Under the new system, the patient in no longer a free man to be accorded dignity and respect, but a puppet on the dole, to be manipulated accordingly—while the doctor is transformed from a sovereign professional into a mere appendage and accessory, a helpless tool in a government-orchestrated campaign of shoddy quality and deception.”
“The end of Medicare road, in other words, is complete socialized medicine.”
Why is this so critical?
Dr. Peikoff told us: “And it is also, literally, a matter of life and death—your life, and that of anyone you love. Don’t let it go without a fight.”
The battle going on in Washington, D.C. is not over what is best for your health care or the delivery of health care services.
The battle over the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act is how it can be re-packaged so Congress can keep political control of the special interest voting groups and the reliable flow of campaign contributions.
As a pragmatic matter, Medicare will be needed to be kept in force for the boomer generation.
Any reform of the health care system for everyone else must start with getting the federal government out of the healthcare business and our lives.
Denis Kleinfeld is known as a strategic tax and wealth protection lawyer, widely published author and creative teacher.
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