We live in an age of public health. Even in countries with private sector health care, government regulates and steers the practice of medicine. On the surface this may seem a positive. In theory it’s an established framework to protect the patient and practitioners from injury and risks. It exists to coordinate in times of widespread crisis and can act as an impartial entity to protect those who are vulnerable. It can also act as the moral heart of a nation, determining the ethics and values in such a manner to guide those who are at times pragmatic or emotionally exposed when decisions need to be made. Beneath these many apparent virtues lurk outcomes that are at times unintended, unseen, corrupt, and even nefarious.
The impulse to offer “free” health care is a universal altruism in most ideologies. It is the theory that rich and poor should be provided “the same” services and treatments, the best possible with little or no cost to them. Economics is not so simple and in the case of such benevolent intentions an impartial system often fails beneath the weight of politics, bureaucracy, and the lack of choice.
Beyond monetary cost is the expense in time and the best treatments, alternatives, and options for individuals are downgraded beneath collective concerns. Instead it provides a singular solution to often complicated conditions that vary for each and every person. The decisions are balanced as far as resources go and what is in the best interest not just for the patient but for the system itself and for those providing the care. Not to mention the many layers of politics and bureaucracy.
Beneath the surface is a corruption of principles and a disconnect between individual consideration and what is the best options for the patient. Instead it is a morality on law and stipulations that protect the medical practitioners, who lean on regulations, guidelines, and policies seldom considering the best options for the patient based on an objective of possibilities but instead limit themselves to what they are allowed to provide or must offer.
COVID-19 and the government response has shown the danger of central planning by creating scarcity of treatment. The reliance on a single system meant that once vaccines were rushed into availability they were touted as the only solution, a silver bullet. And even then some governments under ordered, not to mention the logistical trouble caused in the testing process for the virus. A politicization of any alternative treatment quickly unveiled an ugly culture that suppressed conversation and scientific debate. Instead it became apparent that only an official narrative was allowable. Science became a position that suited policy and not the advancement of medicine.
Conversations about health and lifestyle became taboo, and pre and post treatment was almost ignored in some cases. Instead the miracle was in the new MRNA vaccines. Government invested heavily in them and as the virus did what viruses do, the hubris of the experts pushed the silver bullet’s powers to other parameters. It was then insisted and eventually mandated. From persuasive carrots to the inevitable stick of punishment, governments across the world got their vaccination numbers to go up, along with other measures such as ever changing restrictions and lock downs. The virus persisted.
To be skeptical of the vaccines or lock down policies landed one in a category of pariah status. Individual autonomy was disregarded and anyone that asked questions was looked down upon for having dared to challenge their social betters. They were bullied and pressured at a time when bullying a minority group on many platforms would get you banned. The arguments for the only approved treatment allowed by government was ever-changing and inconsistent. Where some governments sought to apply a tax and fine on those who wish to retain body autonomy, others denied treatment for the “unvaccinated.” Such measures sow distrust and harm perception for other vaccines and medicine.
It is an indictment of public health that a monopoly on medicine is dangerous and corrupt, yet remains unseen for many. It is bad enough that the war on drugs and prohibition has denied people the right to access a litany of things that they as individuals wish to ingest from recreational to medicinal products. The overprotective parental state determines that because some may die, suffer illness, or become Mr. Hydes that everyone should be denied these products. In some cases one must ask or beg for permission to legally put something into your own body. It treats every individual as an ignorant child because they want to try something for themselves.
And during the pandemic, should any individual ask questions the default response was “Are you a doctor?” As if concern for what one should be allowed to put in their body requires a medical degree or such a certification makes one a human god. It is a class structure based upon academic experts that are sanctioned by the monopoly state. People forget that experts can often be wrong but they are seemingly infallible so long as they are on the side of policy. Within the profession of medicine those who have challenged the narrative have become dissidents, losing their jobs and condemned as conspiracy theorists. Doctors and scientists who before 2019-2020 were respected are now ridiculed because they hold a politically inappropriate position regardless of the science.
The public health state is married into censorship and cancel culture, allied with a media and tech companies that attempt to control allowable information. Long form conversation discussing the complexities of medicine and science are now considered disinformation, even when those in the discussion prior to 2020 were welcomed experts in their field. They soon became discarded once they began to exercise their scientific skepticism over the response to the virus and its origins. Instead of welcoming conversation and inviting the public to observe the greatest minds in their field discuss and debate treatments and the pandemic, we are told as peons that we are too stupid for such open conversation and that only those sanctioned by the state are the real experts and any other should be ignored or even censored. Is that science? Is that even good for the sacredness of democratic governance?
The regulators will always tout that they exist to protect. They are there to save lives. It comes down to the seen versus the unseen. Those who die because they were denied medicine thanks to regulations are almost invisible. If doctors are the experts that their education and practice depicts them as, let them be doctors and not conduits of policy who have to obey with as much freedom of decision as a train on its tracks. Life is a frontier, it is a wilderness of risk and outcomes. It also has many options that exist beyond the safety of political medicine.
The monopoly soon becomes the only option. The reality is that many want better access to health care and medicine. In the age of altruistic crowd funding, an era of micro lending and various charities, the financial cost can not be the only obstacle. Especially given the costs generated by bureaucracy, regulatory bloat, a lack of market forces, scarcity created by the monolith itself, waste or not giving practitioners the option to charge or not charge as they please, central planning ruins everything. We don’t need a Czar or a committee, we just need interested individuals to make their own decisions in fast moments with experience and the power of observation. To be adults! To treat those in need with dignity and respect, as human beings and not dependent citizens.
Such a monopoly inspires the worse aspects of politics, not necessarily in the discrimination of those receiving care and treatment but in how one attains status inside the system. Those interested in power and who know how to politic will climb the ranks and surround themselves with like-minded people so the culture is already set from the outset. A centralized monopoly attracts those who are drawn to such. It attracts those with a god complex who believe in the supremacy of experts and their own ability to oversee. It also rewards cynical mercenaries. Anyone who is outside of this mindset or who is focused on combating disease and caring for individuals will struggle and meet obstacles inside the centralized system, suffocating from the indifference of those around them. Committees made up of either well-meaning or cynical strangers make decisions for millions of other strangers based upon economics of policy. It is not about what is in the best interest of individuals, its is about careers, incomes, and “the system” itself and following guidelines.
It is considered selfish to seek independence and alternatives in care but not selfish to take no responsibility for oneself or to expect that an entire nation should be beholden to your health regardless of lifestyle decisions. Or to assume that it is evil for a private business or actor to profit from a free market setting when those inside of the public health sector climb pay grades and make money regardless of their reputation or ability. We’re witnessing a bloated bureaucratic and administrative class sucking resources and energy at the expense of efficiency, each making money simply because their existence is justified in a monopoly. Not to mention the favoritism offered to corporations that become entwined in regulations and policy ensuring their own profits at the expense of competition.
Having medicine and care directed and cultivated in an almost singular manner, governed by bias, corruption, and inefficiencies will often close more doors than it opens. Especially given that we are observing the suppression, punishment, and deterrence of alternative opinions or approaches. And to claim that the regulators conduct themselves in a moral manner with life at the forefront is a myth, especially given examples both recent and past where such was not true. The monopoly approach is to relegate millions of lives into categories and abstracts, gods looking down upon human beings with inhuman regard.
It is not simple. It is a difficult undertaking and has many complicated elements to be considered. That is precisely why it should not be the domain of central planning, to become politicized and rationalized by funding and the bias of government itself. Thousands of talented and dedicated practitioners acting in their wisdom, using experience and knowledge and exercising morality of self, not to mention the many institutions that would arise are far more capable if allowed, than one monopoly that is based on a funding model of central authority above all else.
Food is important to life as well and we know what has happened each time it was government controlled. Choice is an amazing thing. In having the monopoly on violence, government dictates as it pleases without discourse. Creating a citizenry that is dependent and without individual agency, we exist so that others profit and have positions inside of the monopoly. If it is a better system then why not let those who want to opt out enjoy a free market, and those who would prefer the public system remain inside it? Not in competition but simply a duality, freedom and the state. See which thrives over time. Is that not scientific after all? It is always assumed that the free market will create problems and calamity, while ignoring those created by the monopoly.
The imperial instinct to control and act as a paternal missionary and healer has destroyed, conquered, and absorbed civilizations. It is a particular class of human beings that always know better and will endlessly pursue others until they comply or have no other choice. The lesser classes need to be taken care of, to be parented and to be cared for, but only in such a way that profits those who do the caring and ensures that the elites and the public health class are in control. The best care and treatment for the individual is insignificant to what is best for the abstracts of society, nation, and “the people.” It is after all for the greater good, so we are told by those who are paid regardless.