Recently, our government made advances toward promoting our eventual serfdom by initiating a plan through the Department of Health and Human Services to spy on doctors. This sounds very much like the plan by the White House and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to report people who spoke out against the President’s health care plan in 2009. While this most recent “spy program” has now been put on hold, it underscores the thinking of the current administration. It is further proof that our President is using his power in order to promote his plans for social change and has no qualms about using it to spy on American citizens. He has shown time and again that freedom is to take a backseat to social engineering and that our Constitution is nothing more than a speed bump, to be passed over quickly or to be bypassed and ignored.
There are many reasons that this idea is a bad one. However, here are the three that come most vividly to mind:
1. Spying by the government on law-abiding doctors sets up an adversarial relationship between the government and doctors and even between patients and doctors.
2. This program sets a frightening precedent for future spying on other individuals or groups and the potential for abuse of constitutional rights.
3. The administration, as usual, is using subterfuge as a substitute for real reform.
The plan to spy on doctors shows us that the administration considers doctors to be enemies, not partners in the nations’ health care. It makes no sense to spy on friends, so this program underscores the adversarial relationship between the administration and doctors that has been created by government actions. Doctors would be treated almost like “enemy combatants” because we, for the most part, have opposed reforms to the health care system that will not work and will make health care more expensive and less available. Additionally, a program such as this would set up an adversarial relationship between doctors and patients, as doctors would never know who the “spies” were and would naturally be suspicious. This would further degrade the patient-doctor relationship—something this administration favors and Medicare has been trying to do for many years.
The potential for violation of constitutional rights is obvious. The government has already set up a system in which banks have become, in a sense, agents of the government, spying on customers and reporting “suspicious” transactions. The current administration has shown that it considers it good practice for citizens to report other citizens who do not agree with the administration. Spying by government on law-abiding citizens and the encouragement by government that citizens report other citizens who do not agree with it is an affront to liberty. It has in the past always led to loss of freedom—tyranny—in any society in which these actions have been instituted. If we do not protest this latest affront vigorously, the administration will increasingly use the same tactics on other persons and groups with whom they disagree.
The government has already taken away the basic rights of doctors. Medicare laws are so voluminous, convoluted and complex that physicians are at risk of committing “fraud” by just practicing good medicine. The Federal Aviation Administration got along nicely with about 1,000 pages of regulations (until 9/11, after which it rose to about 35,000), but Medicare needs more than 130,000 pages. The quantity and complexity of these rules make it virtually impossible for any well-meaning doctor not to break at least a few of them on a regular basis. This is not unintended, for then the government can claim the program is broke because of “fraud and abuse” instead of admitting the real reason: that it is a program impossible to run and sustain. If motor vehicle laws were so cumbersome, it would be virtually impossible for people to drive at all without offending. We would have a nation paralyzed by traffic laws and broke from enforcing those laws and paying traffic fines. Similarly as a result of Medicare and Medicaid, we have a medical system paralyzed by regulations and broke from paying for health care. If the administration knows that doctors find Medicare objectionable, they ought to consider that doctors may have good reasons for that. Instead of spying, they should be openly committed to correcting the underlying problems and not creating new ones.
Yet this latest plan by the administration, or something just as onerous, was to be expected. When the Obama administration is faced with considering real solutions to the Medicare issue, it wants to spy rather than try. Instead of working toward reform or replacement of inefficient programs with alternatives that would work, it chooses to intimidate and to increase oppressive regulations to force compliance. Obama’s campaign promise to review government programs and replace those that were inefficient was nothing more than a smoke screen for his plan for social engineering and government control. For Obama, the truth has been an option that he could not afford. For example, in defense of his plan for ObamaCare, he claimed that U.S. health care costs were rising faster than those of any other nation, but a look at widely available data showed that to be untrue.
ObamaCare, as well as other administration actions to “reform” health care, will not save money. They will reduce the quality of medical care and we will end up with a system that will be much more expensive than the one these policies were meant to reform. Medicare is, unfortunately, destined for bankruptcy by 2018, and the country is saddled with a debt it can likely never repay. Our President and others in Congress are ignoring an inevitable financial tsunami out of concern for their own personal political futures. Obama is spying while Washington burns, instead of accepting reality and working toward meaningful solutions.
Unfortunately, the actions of this administration demonstrate that it is the greatest enemy of the Constitution today. As a result of the policies and actions of this administration, we are on the road to serfdom, and unfortunately, many of the serfs are going willingly. As a people, we must protect our freedom or we will lose it, and those of us who are doctors must never stop fighting against policies that threaten our patients.