Former Obama chief of staff and Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel famously said in 2008: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. …it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not before.”
Well, outside of war, America has had few national crises worse than this COVID-19 pandemic. And unfortunately, few have provided a greater opportunity for those who crave power to vastly expand it.
The pandemic has now resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 Americans and economically impacted nearly every family and small business. As bad as this has been, there is another enormous issue for the American people: The failure of those we rely on and entrust to prevent such catastrophes — or at least mitigate their damage. And perhaps even more alarming is the possibility that this failure is not due to incompetence — but intent.
I believe this saga to be one of the greatest medical scandals in American history. Perhaps like the New York state nursing home scandal, this saga will eventually receive the national media attention it deserves but until then it remains largely ignored.
Politics Over Science (An Exposé)
The political war against Hydroxychloroquine — that has likely cost thousands of lives.
(Part 2 of 2)
This is the second part of the summary of testimony heard by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on December 8, 2020. It was the second recent hearing on the current progress with early out-patient treatment for COVID-19 and the successes that many front line physicians have had using inexpensive, repurposed drugs.
The previous testimony dealt mostly with the frustrations shared by these doctors trying to fight the war while the “generals,” well-removed from the front lines of the battle field, are making the wrong life-and-death decisions or occasionally the correct ones but at a snail’s pace.
Part one covered most of the opening statements by the six physicians giving testimony. This article deals with the responses the doctors gave to questions from the few committee members in attendance. It appeared only Republican senators Johnson, Paul and Hawley attended leaving senators Portman, Scott, Enzi, Lankford and Romney absent. On the Democrat side, only Senator Peters was initially present but he left immediately after his opening remarks never hearing any of the testimony. Democrat senators absent were Wood Hassen, Carper, Sinema, Harris and Rosen.
Americans Dying While Bureaucrats Nap – (Part 2)
(Part 1 of 2)
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held its second recent hearing on the current progress with early out-patient treatment for the COVID-19 virus.
Six highly respected physicians from various specialties testified that they are frustrated with the snail’s pace of Washington’s COVID oversight bureaucracy’s response to rapidly changing information. They are also fed up with what appears to be a lack of urgency while Americans continue to die, needlessly in many cases.
In attendance at the Senate hearing were Drs. Armand Balboni, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Appili Therapeutics, Jay Bhattacharya, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Medicine at Stanford University, Pierre Kory, M.D., Pulmonologist and Professor of Medicine at St. Luke’s Aurora Medical Center, Jane Orient, M.D., Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Ramin Oskoui, M.D., Cardiologist and CEO of Foxhall Cardiology and Jean-Jacques Rajter, M.D., Pulmonologist at Broward Health Medical Center.
There was absolutely stunning testimony about how little has changed for at-home or early out-patient treatment. The overarching theme was that now with over 300,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 there is still a decided lack of urgency with the federal healthcare bureaucracies. The traditionally, slow, methodical, double-blind studies are clearly thorough and wholly embraced by Dr. Fauci et.al. But when innovative therapies that have shown great successes on the front lines of the battle with this great enemy, are arrogantly dismissed by the bureaucracy, it is more than irresponsible, it is unethical.
And these physicians appear to have had enough of it.
Americans Dying While Bureaucrats Nap – (Part 1)
On November 19, 2020, four physicians testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee chaired by Senator Ron Johnson (R.,WI).
Testifying were Peter McCullough, MD, vice chair of Internal Medicine at Baylor University Medical Center and a professor of medicine at Texas A&M College of Medicine; Dr. George Fareed, MD, a Family Medicine Specialist who graduated from Harvard Medical School where he was a professor and also at the UCLA School of Medicine; Harvey A. Risch, MD, PhD., is Professor of Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health; Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH Professor of Health Services, Policy, and Practice Dean of the School of Public Health Brown University.
Dr. McCullough opened his remarks by saying that with this new surge in cases, hospitals are not yet at capacity but could be eventually overwhelmed (as flu season is just getting underway) if there isn’t early at-home intervention. He urged government officials to be more helpful in assisting primary care physicians with early COVID-19 treatments. Dr. McCullough stated unequivocally that “we prevent hospitalization and death.”
Government May Cause “Massive Mortality”
(Part 10 of a multi-part series on The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization.)
Until the dawn of capitalism in Christian Europe, all previous (dominant) cultures had “command” economies: Markets and labor are “commanded” or coerced rather than allowed to function freely and voluntarily.
Before the dawn of capitalism, much of ancient wealth took the form of buildings —monuments really— like the pyramids in Egypt, the Parthenon in Greece and others. Although impressive, these structures had no productive value and were built mostly by slave labor.
Similar to people living in command economies, those living under the constant threat of marauders or arbitrary confiscation also live with the perpetual risk that their wealth will be forcibly taken at any time so most of their efforts are focused on just keeping and protecting wealth, not productively investing it for growth.
Command economies never produce much wealth. They ignore the most basic of all economic facts that “all wealth derives from production.”1 (For wealth to be created something must be mined, hunted, fished, grown, made or manufactured.)
The Moral Triumph of Western Civilization
Part 10: The Growth of Capitalism
One of the earliest alerts that the COVID-19 virus was not the death sentence that most scientists in the mainstream made it out to be was by Stanford School of Medicine professor, Dr. John Ioannidis. He is ranked by Google Scholar as “one of the world’s 100 most-cited scientists” and is the publisher of more than a thousand studies.
Dr. Ioannidis looked at one of the first places of known infection, the Diamond Princess cruise ship, that was quarantined by Japanese officials on February 4. 700 passengers and crew were infected and 9 died.
By examining the demographic make-up of those infected on-board, Dr. Ioannidis concluded that the fatality rate in the U.S. would be nowhere near the early predictions of one to two million deaths. He thought at worst it would be comparable to annual influenza deaths.
The New York Times has produced a propaganda video entitled, “How Capitalism Ruined China’s Health Care System.” It is intended to show how capitalistic changes in recent decades have nearly destroyed what the Times implies was the formerly great socialist health care system originally started by Mao Zedong.
The video is an incredibly deceptive production and untrue according to the writer who lives there and actually had her appendix expertly removed at one of the private hospitals in Shanghai. The Times video is clearly intended to use the trust people have in the news organization to indoctrinate a large segment of the American public that is currently leaning toward a socialist medical system.
An American expat living in Shanghai, Sarah Lilly, has written a critique of the Times video for The Foundation for Economic Education. She writes that there are many false statements and nearly all of its images are misleading.
The core belief of the Medicare for All advocates is that only a government-run, bureaucratic “Deep State” can solve the problems with medical care in America.
These socialists (after all, they are advocating adoption of one of the most socialized systems in the world) can’t even fathom that it is the unelected, unaccountable bureaucracy, and more recently the unaffordable Affordable Care Act, that have further damaged an already flawed medical payment system.
One only has to look at the Veterans Affairs (VA) system to get a glimpse of how national, government-run health care would (not) function. This authentic single-payer system has let our veterans down for years. A VA investigation in 2016 found that over 100 vets died just in Los Angeles County alone over a 9-month period while awaiting treatment. And this despite a $15 billion reform package that passed in 2014 supposedly to clean things up.
It is essential to recognized that even with all of our payment or insurance issues, actual medical care in America is second to none.
Few Americans are satisfied with the current health care system. But actual medical care in America is not the problem, it’s second to none. What needs fixing is how we pay for it.
The health care payment system in the United States is clearly in need of major reform. Our challenge as a prosperous society is to compassionately provide necessary medical care to those who have difficulty affording it but also to ethically relieve those now burdened with the cost of care of others through considerably higher medical bills or insurance premiums.
One of out of every five Americans don’t pay anything for their care – but somebody does. Doctors and nurses don’t work for free. The people who pay for this care are the “neighbors” of those who got it free or subsidized. What makes this so unethical is that those “neighbors” who end up paying more than what they legitimately owe are mostly being charged extra without their knowledge.
When people don’t pay the cost of a service or product, they want all of it they can get. It’s not a criticism of them, it’s simply human nature. Demand skyrockets when something desirable is free. I’ve had ER physicians tell me they’ve often seen the same people, on Medicaid or without any insurance at all, show up in ER routinely for the most minor of injuries or ailments. Everyone should pay something even if its nominal. It would discourage frivolous use.
The better solution is to move toward a market-oriented system that still benevolently provides care for the truly needy but doesn’t allow others to abuse the system by showing up in ER every two weeks with the sniffles.
If the Democrats win the House on Tuesday, the first bill they may pass is “Medicare for All” since it already has over 120 co-sponsors. These now admitted socialists would destroy the world’s greatest health care system due to their arrogance and addiction to political power.
Nearly all previous socialist efforts to destroy the free market have started with the same premise: The current system is so bad, so troubling that government must step in to take remedial action by imposing itself into the marketplace. Phrases like “single-payer,” “universal health care” or the current favorite, “Medicare for All,” are attractive marketing phrases designed to promote expanded government power. In reality, “restricted health care,” “shared shortages,” or “inaccessible care” would be more accurate when describing such concepts.
To socialists, the free market can’t be trusted because it’s just not fair the way it uses merit to produce winners and losers. It’s why government and academia are so closely ideologically aligned. Many have never worked one day of their lives dealing with free market competition. They just know they’re smarter and have better ideas better than those less intelligent simpletons who are out there actually doing the work.
First of all, it must be stated: Everyone in the United States has access to quality medical care regardless of ability to pay in America’s great hospitals.
It is a misconception, and a common cry with the “Medicare for All” crowd that that because many in America don’t have health insurance, they aren’t able to receive medical care. As virtually any Emergency Room physician or nurse will convey, that isn’t true. In most cases, hospitals would treat these uninsured patients anyway, but they must do so because of federal law.
The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) was passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It states that all hospitals under the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) system, must examine and treat essentially anyone who walks into the waiting room.
As we as a nation seriously consider whether or not we want a socialized system for our medical care, many would be surprised to learn that our hospitals are not in very good financial shape. Yes, of course they see the expansions and exorbitant hospital bills and immediately assume our medical centers are overcharging for care and loaded with money. For some elite centers this may be true, but overall, hospitals are not in good financial condition and would be irreparably damaged by a single-payer, socialist, “Medicare for All” type system.
Those touting the “Medicare for All” plan are using the phrase to entice those with just a surface awareness of what Medicare actually is into blindly jumping on board the bandwagon. In fact, the phrase is extremely disingenuous (albeit politically brilliant), designed to intentionally mislead the an public. (It is not so dissimilar from the deceptively named “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”)
The goal is to seduce a mostly uninformed citizenry into supporting a concept that sounds like they’ll (1) never again have to pay anything for medical care; (2) such care will always be readily available when they want it and (3) medical care in the United States will remain top notch.
What Sen. Bernie Sanders and his supporters say they really want is a Canadian-style, government-, state- or bureaucratically-run health care system and not a plan similar to Medicare here in the U.S.
The core “moral” principle supporting the Medicare for All proposal is “health care is a right.” This is not so. Free health care is not a human right, no more than free food, clothing or shelter are human rights. An intrinsic right can only come from a transcendent being – God. Kings don’t have “divine rights,” they have “divinely gifted rights” – like all the rest of us do.
No human right can demand the involuntary servitude of another person – either by being forced to provide his or her medical expertise free of charge, or by having the state confiscate the private wealth of others to pay for the care of those who don’t pay. Intellectuals invoke the claim of “rights” even when they can cite no basis or reason. They just claim it, like saying everyone has the right to “affordable housing” or a “living wage.”
The two nations most prominently cited as the darling models of single-payer systems for the Medicare for All crowd are Canada and Great Britain.
(First in a seven-part series: Medicare for All – Quality and Accessible Care for None)
Socialism’s origins in America began 400 years ago, when the Pilgrims made a commitment to leave the Netherlands for the New World after forming a partnership with a group of merchants from London.
Britain granted this new jointly-owned company a plantation in the Virginia Colony in 1617. Of course, we know they missed their intended destination by hundreds of miles when they landed instead along the Massachusetts coast.
This contract was a socialist planner’s dream. It stated that each adult would acquire an equal share in the company; it meant that when they arrived in 1620 Plymouth Colony operated under the governing mandate that all production was owned by the collective. “Food for All” might have been the catchy, feel-good phrase used at the time.
This economic experiment produced disastrous, fatal results. During the very first winter alone, half of the new colonists perished.
Finally, in 1623, America’s first experiment with socialism was mercifully scrapped. Individual, private property rights were established for both land and production giving each settler the right to keep (eat or sell) the fruits of his labors.
Today, just when we thought it was dead (yet again), socialism is experiencing a strong political rebirth in the United States. Combine this sentiment with an increasing distrust/dislike for private insurance companies along with a collective misunderstanding of what defines a “human right” and it’s no surprise “single-payer” or “universal health care” or the attractively-named “Medicare for All” is a steamroller-like political movement.