I blog about free markets in medical care and transparent pricing.
For all I’ve written about the Canadian healthcare system, I think that all things considered, it is probably better (as awful as it is) than what we know as Obamacare. I see the two recent candidates as a socialist (the winner) and a fascist (the loser). The socialist is a wealth redistributionist primarily, but moves in some fascist, public-private partnership circles to fuel his financial needs. The loser, while giving lip service to “liberty” and “freedom” is primarily a tool of the businesses that serve to benefit from their relationship to gunvernment, that is, primarily a fascist.
The fascist is certainly “pro-business,” pro-business in the sense that this policy results in riches for the businesses, regardless of the effect on the consumer. Ironically, Paul Ryan actually made this statement during the campaign, imploring everyone to distinguish between “pro-business” and “pro-free market.” Both candidates claimed that health care was a “right.”
Here is why I think that Obamacare is the greater of the two evils. In Canada, everyone is in the same boat. When the money is gone, the money is gone for everyone. The only option folks have for getting care is to leave the country and pay out of their pocket. The only motive to ration is national bankruptcy. Having already faced this reality, the provinces now receive a certain amount of money like a reckless teenager on a budget, and when it’s gone it’s gone. The failures of this system are transparent to all, particularly the Canadians, but everyone’s in the same boat, a very socialistic setup.
Paradoxically, Obamacare, bearing the name of a socialist, is fascistic. ”Private” companies (giant insurance companies) will collect premiums, that by law now, everyone must pay. The law is written in such a way that only a handful of the insurance companies that now exist will continue to operate, the smoking gun of industry consolidation that has Washington’s fingerprints all over it. These companies will work very hard (and with little competition to prevent them) to ration care for the sake of their profits and stock price. Major stockholders will advocate and profit from the rationing of care to those who need it most.
There you have it. Well-meaning socialist bureaucrats in Canada put their bleeding socialist hearts into prioritizing their fellow citizens’ health needs. In this country, the companies that the gunvernment has put in charge will pursue rationing and neglect as policies, this approach being in their and their stockholder’s self interest. Rationing as an unintended consequence vs rationing as a profit-generating policy.
Hayek saw little difference between socialism and fascism, writing famously that the central planning characteristic of both made them basically indistinguishable. I like to think about fascism as socialism with some of the central planning outsourced to quasi-private corporations. This allows for the scapegoating of the “businesses” when the gunvernment’s policies fail to satisfy the public. In this way, fascism innoculates the failed policy from attacks by adversaries, always maintaining a roster of fall-guys. The totalitarianism is therefore much more difficult to attack, hiding in a way that an overtly socialist policy cannot.
The failures of the Canadian health care system are seen by Canadians as the fault of their government. The failures of Obamacare will be seen as the fault of the greedy corporations running it, another one standing by to take its place. This may be the winner’s cruelest secret: that for all his popular socialistic talk, he’s really a fascist underneath.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
Professor Robert Higgs toward the end of his brilliant book, “Crisis and Leviathan,” discusses the errors of the renowned social scientist Joseph Schumpeter with regards to his prediction of a socialist U.S., post WWII. Higgs describes a post-war march toward a more mixed economic result, one characterized by a government that gives lip service to private property but whose intense regulation of this private property resembles the fascistic regimes of wartime Italy and Germany. Higgs faults Schumpeter for clinging to a Marxist model with the bourgeoisie or “business class” on one side and the labor unionists, intellectuals and government bureaucrats on the other. Consistent with this “two-class theme” Schumpeter portrays those in the business class as the last defenders of capitalism (much like Ayn Rand). Quoting the brilliant Higgs,”He (Schumpeter) failed to appreciate how much the abandonment of traditional economic liberties over the long run had resulted not from the acquiescence or defeat of businessmen but from their enthusiastic sponsorship.” Later, “Businessmen have done more than their full share to foster the active regulatory state from its very inception.”
Examples of medically related businesses that have embraced this fascism are too numerous to list. Operationally, it is critical to understand that while the political contributions and bribes these medical mercantilists pay are substantial, the loot they later receive dwarfs their “investment.” The poor-mouthing and complaining about the regulations or new government hoops and hurdles that these medical “businesses” must overcome create the needed distraction, one that deflects attention from the promised future payoff. Giant hospitals are a prime example of this “business” model. Being the only medical facilities big enough to deal with the most onerous government curve balls, behind closed doors the administrators of these facilities cry in their champagne as they watch their smaller rivals whither due to these same government curve balls.
One can only imagine what kind of dough the HIT (health information technology) companies threw down to obtain a government mandate to buy their product. This is a more blatant and obvious bribery. The distraction effort took the form of an intense propaganda campaign to convince the public that this HIT emergency was all in the interest of patient safety. This campaign continues today.
“Businessmen” that have made their millions through government contracts are nothing more than fascists as they essentially lobby for the stolen property to capitalize their “pubic-private” partnership. As intensely ingrained as these men are in the medical business, their footing is precarious, as the source of their funding is unstable, essentially the product of a robbery. True and free markets raising their heads out of the medical mud are devastating to even the biggest of the crony’s flagship “businesses” and facilities.
As more and more physicians and medical facilities display their prices the tactics and true colors of the fascist conglomerates will become more clear. I believe that this medical industrial complex will fall just like the Berlin Wall, as the unsustainable and unstable business model, embraced in this country for the last few decades, has run its course. The free market, with its creative destruction, will once again bring to ruin those who deserve it dearly.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.