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MedicalTuesday refers to the
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In This Issue:
* * * *
Ebeling, President of the Foundation for Economic Education, reports in the
last issue of The
on how the
In a recent survey of 50,000 people in 62 countries around the world, at least one out of every ten people admitted that he had bribed some corrupt political official or government administrator during the preceding 12 months. There seems to be very few places anywhere in the world where such political bribery does not occur. The omnipresence of such political corruption should not be surprising; it is inseparable from the modern interventionist state.
According to a report
released in December by Transparency International (TI), a non-governmental
organization headquartered in
In 36 of the 62 countries surveyed, respondents said that political parties were the most corrupt, followed by parliaments and legislatures, the police, the legal system and judiciary, and the tax authorities. Seventy-seven percent of all respondents stated that petty political corruption (involving business licenses, traffic violations, and so on) was a big problem in their countries. Eighty-five percent said that "grand" political corruption at the highest levels of government involving the political elites and special-interest groups was a major problem. While few Americans or Canadians admitted they paid bribes ("petty" or "grand") to someone in government, in both countries the respondents said that on a scale of one to four (with one being "not at all" and four being "to a large extent"), the occurrence of political corruption ranked above a three. . . .
TI's more comprehensive 2004 Global Corruption Report, released last spring, revealed that the primary bases for political corruption around the world were government procurement contracts, electoral contributions by special-interest groups, and bribes for regulatory benefits or limits on both domestic and foreign competitors. The pervasiveness of political corruption, unfortunately, can be neither reduced nor eliminated through various forms of legislative and legal reform, as organizations such as TI often advocate. Corruption is an inevitable outgrowth of the interventionist state and can only be "cured" through the establishment of an unrestricted free-market economy. The essence of the market economy is that each of us can acquire what others have only through voluntary acts of exchange. We must each apply ourselves in ways we hope will attract potential customers, persuading them to purchase what we are selling instead of what our rivals are offering. On the free market, the only moral and legal "weapon" permitted to "capture" customers is to offer better, more useful, and less expensive goods to the buying public. Violence and fraud are outside of the market's "rules of the game." . . . .
The government taxes the public and has huge sums of money to disburse to various programs and projects. It imposes licensing and regulatory restrictions on free and open competition. It transfers great amounts of income and wealth to different groups through sundry "redistributive" schemes. It controls how and for what purpose people may use and dispose of their own property. It paternalistically imposes legal standards influencing the ways we may live, learn, associate, and interact with others around us. Those in the government who wield these powers hold the fate of virtually everyone in their decision making hands. It is inevitable that those drawn to employment in the political arena often will see the potential for personal gain in how and for whose benefit or harm they apply their vast life-determining decrees and decisions. Some will be attracted to such public service "because they are motivated by ideological visions they dream of imposing for the good of humanity."
Some will see that bribing those holding this political power is the only means to attain their ends. . . . The business of the interventionist state, therefore, is the buying and selling of favors and privileges. It must lead to corruption, because by necessity it uses political power to harm some for the benefit of others, and those expecting to be either harmed or benefited will inevitably try to influence what those holding power do with it.
In addition, it should not be forgotten that such corruption slowly eats away at the moral fiber of the society. Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises explained this over 70 years ago in his Critique of Interventionism
Public opinion is not mistaken if it scents corruption everywhere in the interventionist state. . . .
By constantly violating criminal laws and moral decrees they [the bribers and the bribed] finally lose the ability to distinguish between right and wrong, good and bad. If finally few economic goods can be produced or sold without violating some regulation, it becomes an unfortunate accompaniment of "life" to sin against law and morality. . . . The merchant who began by violating foreign exchange controls, import and export restrictions, price ceilings, et cetera, easily proceeds to defraud his partner. The decay of business morals . . . is the inevitable concomitant of the regulations that were placed on trade and production. . . .
The interventionist state is a political garden that inevitably sprouts the weeds of bribery and corruption. And over time it tends to envelop and replace all traditional and ethical norms of conduct and morality. Ending global political corruption in its various "petty" and "grand" forms, therefore, will only come with the removal of government from social and economic life. When government is limited to protecting our lives and property, there will be little left to buy and sell politically. Corruption then will be an infrequent annoyance and occasional scandal, rather than an inescapable aspect of today's social and economic life around the world. To read the entire article, click on the current issue at http://www.fee.org or go directly to http://www.fee.org/~web/0105iolpdf/fromprez.pdf.
When so many laws (mandates) are passed that no one can observe all of them, then you have a nation of lawbreakers. You can then get conviction after conviction for total servitude. - Ayn Rand
* * * * *
author of Abuse of Power: How the Government Misuses Eminent Domain,
and senior editorial writer and columnist for the Orange County Register
The Los Angeles Times
reporter uses terms such as "doomsday," "meltdown," and
"health care Chernobyl" to describe the situation as emergency-room
patients increasingly must wait 16 hours or more for treatment, or four days
or more to get a bed in a hospital.
Greenhut opines that
determined this on a visit to the emergency room for a gallbladder attack. He
was about to show his insurance card and was told to "Put that away. We
are not allowed to look at payment information before treating you."
Federal law is quite simple: No one may be turned away from a hospital, unless
the hospital does not offer the specific services needed. He concludes: All
the recent crises have the same cause: Government meddling in the
market. To read the entire article, see http://www.fee.org.
* * * * *
Gibson, MD, has recently written on Fundamental Health Care Reform in several
journals. He feels that in order to do something about the dysfunctional
health care system, we have to take aim at hospitals, insurance companies,
drug firms and labor costs. A version of this article can be found at http://www.SSVMS.org.
on the current issue and then his article. (Our Voices of Medicine is in the
same table of contents.)
In 2004, Medicaid
cost the states and the federal government more than $300 billion. This year,
the program is projected to cost the federal government alone over $190
billion with the combined state and federal projected expenditure to be
roughly double this number.
According to the
National Assn. of State Budget Officers, spending on Medicaid grows by around
8 percent a year on average, while total state spending annually grows an
average of 4.5 percent. This growth is outpacing state revenues and is now a
larger component of total state spending than elementary and secondary
education combined. This program alone is driving most of the states toward
The public is
becoming aware that these trends are not sustainable. As a result, we are now
hearing calls from across the political spectrum for "fundamental"
change in health care; but, before we begin discussing fundamental changes
within the health care system, it would serve us well to examine what this
change will involve.
We should begin this
discussion by understanding that health care's cost structure is based upon an
artificially constructed market foundation. What we now have in
We also have an
acuity-based health care system that spends most of its resources in the last
two weeks of life. In essence, we try to use medicine to defeat death. Of
course, this does not work.
Both of the above
realities define our current health care system and represent an irrational
To review the changes
that must be made, and understand the painful solutions, go to http://healthplanusa.net/DGFundamentalHealthCareReform.htm.
* * * *
Halpern, MD, PhD, sends a missive on the cost of
drugs. "In our independent investigation of how much profit drug
companies really make, we obtained the actual price of active ingredients used
in some of the most popular drugs sold in
When the government and every insurance carrier and HMO manipulates the market by contracting for a product, no one will ever realize the dramatic effect that market forces have in lowering health care costs. As far as pharmacy costs are concerned, it appears that if the market had to compete with Costco, prices would be reduced by two-thirds, thereby lowering the cost of health care. Thus, the Medicare Pharmacy Benefit program or any HMO pharmacy plan could never compete with drug costs on the open market. The market is ruthless in reducing health care costs. In this instance, two-thirds of the cost would disappear instantly.
Government is not the
solution to our problems, government is the problem.
* * * * *
An accountant in his
prime is working on his laptop computer as his wife sits nearby reading Gone
With The Wind. He has all his income
projections, IRS files, bank statements, mortgage ledger, 40lK and investment
accounts around him as he announces to his wife: "Since Social Security
won't be around in thirty years and Medicare will go bankrupt in 20 years when
we'll start getting sick, I project if we take a late retirement and an early
death, we may just squeak by." (After Smaller)
* * * *
Madeleine Pelner Cosman, PhD, JD, Esq, in her upcoming book, Who Owns Your Body, gives Nine Myths of American Medicine. Today we conclude with Myth 9. For the previous eight myths, see http://www.healthplanusa.net/MC-WhoOwnsYourBodyIntro.htm.
This chapter offers
immediately applicable, common sense solutions for Americans who will not
meekly accept loss of their body ownership rights. Rational, feasible, legal
methods for reasserting individual body ownership are open to all Americans
rich or poor, young or old:
Savings Accounts (MSAs)
credits for employees
for medical insurance
(new in June, 2002)
plans not defined benefit plans
cards and pharmaceutical plans
Physicians and Hospitals
Information and Care Systems
Life-Style Medical Care
Health Insurance Trusts (CHITS)
These are among
dozens of consumer-driven methods consistent with body-ownership,
self-responsibility, innovative achievement, and other values of a free
MSAs, created in 1996
via HIPAA, are especially important. Though imperfect, MSAs empower
medical consumers with individual choice and control over money. MSAs
celebrate intelligence, initiative, industry, and bodily integrity. This
chapter compares the many exciting new consumer-driven products and answers
such questions as:
What is an MSA?
How much does an
How does an MSA
How do I qualify
for an MSA?
How do I pay for
financial, personal, and legal benefits of an MSA?
What happens to
my MSA money at the end of the year?
Where do I find
MSAs, like many other
consumer-driven medical methods, diminish, almost extinguish, the eight
severest intrusions upon patient freedoms imposed by medical laws governing
managed care, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and Medicare.
physicians and surgeons
tam whistle blower actions for False Claims
party definitions of medically necessary treatment
rationing by third parties
MSAs and other
consumer-driven medical modalities are rational, logical, responsible,
judicious celebrations of the intelligence, individuality, and common sense of
Americans. MSAs and other consumer-driven medical modalities are important for
all who cherish medical freedom. MSAs encourage individual patients''
medical prudence. Almost everyone benefits. Patients freely select their
doctors and make reasoned decisions about their own care. Employers pay
considerably less for MSAs plus catastrophic health insurance than for other
health plans. With consumer-driven health care everyone wins except social
engineers who protect people against personal freedom, who control quality and
quantity of medical care, and who redefine as medically necessary
whatever their arrogance demands.
Who Owns Your
Body? America's 9 Deadly Medical Myths refutes
customary arguments against MSAs and free-market, consumer-driven medical care
only the healthy
and wealthy benefit from consumer-driven medical care
cannot benefit from consumer-driven medical care
medical care cannot help the millions of uninsured
MSAs and other
free-market, consumer-driven medical programs will expand medical excellence,
physical integrity, and responsible body ownership for all Americans.
physicians, collectivizing patients, and medicalizing select social dilemmas
all result from the paradigm shift beginning in 1965, placing government and
other third-parties at the center of medical responsibility. Perhaps
well-intentioned and perhaps compassionate, the shift from individual to
government control has had vicious consequences. Costs erupted, care decayed,
choice evaporated, and physicians and surgeons have been exploited and
medicine will provide the necessary paradigm shift to place the individual
American at the center of decision-making. Whoever pays,
controls. Whoever pays, decides what shall be done or not done to the body
luxuriating in vigorous health or debilitated by injury or disease. If that
body is your body, do you prefer to assert the same ownership control for your
anatomy as for your car and your house? Who decides what for whom?
Americans merit the
best medicine of a free society. They have the courage, the intelligence, and
the rights to buy it. Who Owns Your Body? America's 9 Deadly Medical Myths
reveals deceptions and misconceptions in
modern American medicine and charts the path to medical abundance, medical
integrity, and medical excellence.
Americans Will Thrive on Medical Savings Accounts and Free-Market,
* * * *
James J Murtagh, M.D,
Pulmonologist and writer, from
Indeed, the movie's
depiction of Hilary Swank's character (the Baby) as paralyzed on a
ventilator and begging a friend to "pull the plug"- by sneaking into
the hospital, turning off her respirator and giving her a shot of adrenaline -
completely ignores the reality of routine medical ethics. Where was the
patient's doctor? That doctor had a moral, legal and religious duty to
honor the patient's wishes!
No one has to guess
what Swank wants. She's not unconscious, she's not a vegetable, she's
not depressed. She's depicted as completely rational. Which
means that her wishes must be obeyed. As a matter of fact, failing to
honor a patient's instructions for these end-of-life procedures is actually illegal
- and theoretically could result in criminal prosecution of any
doctor who insisted on keeping a patient alive artificially against the
medical premise of Million Dollar Baby is dead wrong, because Baby
could have refused the ventilator without a quibble, merely by asking. Since
the famous Karen Quinlan case 30 years ago,
Pope Pius XII,
himself, understood as much in 1952, when he condemned "extraordinary
means" to maintain life against the will of patients. The major religions
are in agreement. I have worked with chaplains and rabbis of all faiths to
help patients make these decisions - and most of the priests I work with have
written advanced directives to ensure they are never placed on a ventilator
against their will.
Gray areas do arise
when a patient is unconscious, however. Difficult ethical cases come up all
the time. But a rational, talking patient could have refused the ventilator,
the IV fluids, medicines, surgery - or a dozen other treatments needed to stay
alive. Is the film really suggesting the doctors took the patient to surgery
to remove a leg, in order to save her life without her consent? Had Baby
refused the operation, she would have died from infection, and she would have
spared the Eastwood character his torment, and her own attempt to end her life
by biting her tongue.
Apparently unaware of
this medical reality, the creators of Baby came up with a thoroughly
Orwellian and barbaric plot twist in order to solve a non-existent problem -
by having Eastwood sneak into Baby's hospital room to pull the plug.
But if the movie's
depiction of a typical ventilator scenario was absurdly unrealistic, the
talk-show and op-ed page debates that have followed it seem even more
ludicrous. While conservatives Rush Limbaugh and Michael Medved huff and puff
about "the sacred right to preserve life" and disability activists
protest the depiction of Baby, nobody seems to have grasped a key
fact: This is a total non-issue in American hospitals today!
To read Dr Murtagh's
profile, go to http://www.healthcarecom.net/PhysicianProfiles.htm.
From his page, you can read the entire movie review before the Oscars next
* * * *
* * * *
Stay Tuned to the
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If you would like
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Del Meyer, MD, CEO
to Honest Abe and George. The last two presidents who could not tell a lie!
Washington: Friendship is a
plant of slow growth and must undergo and withstand the shocks of adversity
before it is entitled to the appellation.
Lincoln: "As I would not
be a slave, so I would not be a master. "
Washington: Few people have
the virtue to withstand the highest bidder.
Lincoln: "Those who deny
freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves;
and, under a just God, cannot long retain it."
Washington: Government is not
reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant
and a fearful master.
some recent postings below.
Dr Muhammad Yunus,
Global Health Care. A moving story of patient directed
health care in
David Gibson, MD,
Fundamental Health Care Reform.
Voices of Medicine:
To read a review of the first issue of Sacramento Medicine in 1950 go to
that the first 132 years are no longer available. To read last year's series
of my column, the "Voices of Medicine," go to http://healthcarecom.net/vom2004.htm.
Charles B Clark, MD: A Piece of the
are we going to tell those bright-eyed little boys and girls who are going to
be the doctors of tomorrow? When there isn't anything left for them, are we
going to tell them we didn't fight because the changes were inevitable anyway?
What are we going to say when they ask us why we laid down and died when
things got a little tough? Are we going to feel good about ourselves when we
tell them it's all right because we got a piece of the pie? Read Dr Clark at
Read his most
recent posting, Feeding the Monster, at
Henry Chang, MD:
WEIGHT LOST FOREVER - The Five Second Guide to
Permanent Weight Loss suggest
daily weights to stem the weight loss before it becomes a problem and, if it
does, how to take it off and keep it off. Congratulations to Dr Chang for
winning the Sacramento Publishers and Authors 2004 award for "Best Health
Book of the Year." Read our review at
The Death of Right and Wrong (Understanding the difference between
the right and the left on our culture and values.) http://www.townhall.com/bookclub/bruce.html.
Reviewed by Courtney Rosenbladt
An Alzheimer's Story:
To read a touching story by a nurse about her Alzheimer's patient, go to
An Entrepreneur's Story:
initial funding for MedicalTuesday and the Global Trademarking. Julie Meyer,
the CEO, has a clear vision in her mind of the world that she wants to live
in, and it's considerably different from how it looks now. If you're an
entrepreneurial woman, or if you lost hope or are having difficulty
envisioning success, (if you'll forgive a little nepotism), the following
article may be of interest to you: http://observer.guardian.co.uk/business/story/0,6903,1237363,00.html.
This Date in History - February 22
On this date in 1732, George
Washington, the first president of the
One this date in 1630, native American
Indians introduced the Pilgrims to popcorn.
part of a collection of folkways and family recipes that, put together, made
up the American way of life. It seems that things have been popping every
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