I still remember my doctor making $5 house calls in Abilene, Kansas. Now my healthcare policy has been deemed "substandard" by government mandate. In a world where technology accelerates, health care degenerates. The 2,700-page Affordable Care Act is to be the crowning blow.
You may think you know all there is to know about Obamacare, but wait until you read Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet's piece below. You may not have heard about Ezekiel Emanuel's "The Complete Lives System." I hadn't. It's the intellectual underpinning for the Affordable Care Act, and it's frightening.
Obamacare was to fix the ills of America's free-market healthcare system. However, the US healthcare system has been anything but laissez faire since WWII, when patients lost the power of the purse with their doctors. Employers, needing to attract wartime employees and skirt wage controls, offered insurance instead.
President Harry Truman told Congress on November 19, 1945, just seven months into his presidency, "The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health" was a part of his proposed Economic Bill of Rights. Another was "the right to adequate protection from the economic fears of … sickness."
Even the American Medical Association (AMA) called Truman's bill "socialized medicine" and said those in the Truman White House were "followers of the Moscow party line."
Truman backed off, but in 1965 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law at the Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and reminded onlookers that Medicare "all started really with the man from Independence."
Now, Uncle Sam provides health care for more than three-quarters of those over 65, whether they realize it or not. In a famous town-hall exchange with Republican Congressman Bob Inglis, one of his constituents in South Carolina shouted, "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" The man couldn't be convinced that Medicare was already a government program.
Nearly a third of all Americans depend upon the government for their health care. They already bear the brunt of an overregulated system that generates too much demand and too little supply. As long ago as 1922, the great Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises, in his book Socialism, wrote about a German medical system controlled by government that destroyed the price system, eradicating economic rationality and creating economic chaos.
Medical socialism is particularly devastating to people, because it affects their capacity to stay healthy and alive. By robbing individuals of their rights to exchange and choose, Mises wrote, state-run medical systems are comparable to those run by the army or by prisons, which are not centers of health but of disease and disaster.
In her very provocative piece, Dr. Vliet explains that Obamacare runs smack into the face of a physician's Hippocratic Oath of doing no harm and benefiting the sick. We know the president lied when he said, "If you like your coverage, you can keep it." Even more outrageous is what he didn't say.
That said, if you like outspoken people like Dr. Vliet, I should tell you that Doug Casey is about to release his second book after the wildly popular Totally Incorrect. This one is called Right on the Money and focuses mostly on topics such as the economy, investment strategies, speculation, and how to be a contrarian… as usual in Doug's inimitable, irreverent style.
Read it yourself and/or give it as a holiday gift to those who appreciate a candid and humorous read devoid of political correctness. You can preorder it here.
And without further ado, here is Dr. Vliet's article. Be warned—it's not for the faint of heart.
Contributing Editor, Casey Research
Obamacare: Diametrically Opposed to the Hippocratic Oath
Over 2,500 years ago, Hippocrates—the Greek physician and father of modern medicine—outlined the principles that have guided medical practice ever since. We call it the Oath of Hippocrates today.
The core tenet of the Oath of Hippocrates is that a physician has a sacred duty to serve the needs of the individual patient to the best of his or her ability. Here's a snapshot of what the original Greek version says:
I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panacea and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:
I will apply measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment;
I will keep them from harm and injustice.
I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect.
Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.
Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.
What I may see or hear in the course of treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.
If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.
That's pretty clear: it is a doctor's duty to do what's best for his or her patient, no matter what. This one-page oath has guided Western doctors for over two millennia.
Obamacare, clocking it at 2,700 pages (plus 20,000 pages of regulations, which they're not done writing yet) is based on the exact opposite idea: that a physician should serve the collective, or greater societal good, even at the expense of an individual patient.
I've written before about how Obamacare is based on "The Complete Lives System" by Ezekiel Emanuel, Rahm Emanuel's brother, and an early senior White House health policy adviser to Obama. Most Americans have never read these articles, because they were published mainly in British medical journals. You can read one for yourself here.
"The Complete Lives System" makes crystal clear that physicians must not focus on the individual patient. Instead, medical care should be allocated based on the patient's usefulness to the "collective good." If you're too old, or too young, or your ailment is too complicated, society is better off letting you die, rather than paying a doctor to heal you.
One tenet of the Complete Lives system is that medical care for people under age 15 and over age 45 should be attenuated. "Attenuate" means to ration. Emanuel believes that the very young and the elderly are less valuable to society than those in the middle of the age curve. He published this chart called the "reaper curve," which illustrates which age groups he believes should receive the most and best medical care.
And who will do that allocating and "attenuating" of your medical care? Why, bureaucrats, of course. Instead of doctors asking, "Is this in the best interest of my patient?" bureaucrats will consult their spreadsheets and ask, "Will the government get a decent return on its cost for this patient's medical care, or could that money be better used for someone else who will better serve the needs of society?" Sorry if you happen to die in the process.
Unfortunately, it seems that the Oath of Hippocrates is headed for a similar fate as the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It's becoming an anachronism.
Physician responsibility for decision making is the core tenet of Western medicine. Obamacare seeks to undermine that by putting the federal government in charge of medical decisions.
"We Should Never Again Let Doctors Work for the Government"
History shows the disastrous outcomes when doctors work for governments instead of patients. All totalitarian regimes—Lenin, Hitler, and Castro included—have used control of medical services to control their populations and devalue human life.
I realize that invoking those names can elicit negative knee-jerk reactions; I'm not trying to minimize their atrocious reigns by comparing them to Obamacare, nor am I saying that our medical system is headed the way of the Third Reich. But these murderous regimes taught us lessons about the relationship between doctors and government many decades ago. Those lessons seem to be slipping from our collective memory.
For example, when analyzing the grotesque outcome of Nazi medicine, we only see the end results of the doctors' atrocities. We hear of Nazi doctors who were hanged for experimenting on and killing patients.
But you don't hear about the long, slow process it took to get to that point. Nazi leaders didn't just command doctors to start killing people one day. They started by removing focus on the individual patient and switching to a "greater good" basis. They installed panels of "experts"—including doctors, lawyers, and psychiatrists—to decide who lived and who died, based on a cost-benefit analysis of the patient's value to society. This system stymied the many good doctors who wanted to do right by their patients. They had two choices: obey the government or join the victims.
Many prominent physicians were tried at Nuremberg and executed. Following the Nuremberg Doctors' Trial, Leo Alexander summed up the combined British, French, and American prosecutors' opinions that most of the German doctors were not inherently evil. The problem was that they worked for the government.
The Allied prosecutors concluded: "We should never again let doctors work for the government."
Government Doctors Come to the US
Government doctors are back in style. As is the "Progressive" view that some individuals must give up their medical services to others who are more deserving. The "cookie cutter" protocol of rationing based on age, condition, and cost is dangerous and costs lives. But that's where we're headed.
If there ever was a time and reason for internationalizing your life and assets, this is it. There are steps you can take: get some money in a health savings account overseas. Get an international health insurance policy.
Someday, your life could depend on having access to that money free of government restrictions. Prepare for that day.
Your health is your greatest wealth. To protect it to the best of your ability, explore health care options outside of the US.
Dr. Vliet writes as an independent practicing physician with medical practices in Tucson and Dallas focused on issues of endocrine aging in men and women from puberty to late life. Dr. Vliet is also the CEO of International Health Strategies, Ltd., a medical consulting company that assists patients in finding appropriate high-quality, affordable medical care overseas to maintain patients' medical privacy and medical freedom to choose individualized treatment options free of government intrusion.
Dr. Vliet is the author of six consumer health books and the 2007 Voice of Women Honoree by the Arizona Foundation for Women for her pioneering work on the overlooked hormone connections in women's health. She has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and TV shows discussing the healthcare law as well as a variety of health topics for women and men. Dr. Vliet was one of the speakers at the recent 2013 Casey Research Summit (click here to purchase the complete Summit audio set).