Just as the government controls over agriculture in the former USSR led to food shortages and long “bread lines,” government controls over the health sector will lead to longer waits for medical care. Health laws similar to ObamaCare have been in effect in Massachusetts since 2006. Massachusetts patients must now wait an average of 48 days to see an internal medicine physician — double the national average. Under ObamaCare, the rest of the country will soon experience similar problems.
If history is any guide, the government will likely impose additional controls to “solve” the problems created by their earlier controls. As Ludwig Von Mises once noted, controls breed controls. One logical next step would be further “physician mandates.” Some disturbing precedents that have already been proposed in the U.S. and Canada include the following:
- Massachusetts legislators recently proposed requiring doctors to accept government-controlled insurance rates as a condition of retaining their state medical licenses, regardless of whether or not the doctors lost money on each patient. (This has not yet been enacted into law.)
- Oregon will require “concierge doctors” to register as insurance companies, because those physicians accept fees from patients in exchange for the promise of future medical services. This makes it harder for doctors to “opt out” of the government-controlled insurance system.
- The Canadian government once proposed compelling newly graduated doctors to work in “underserved” regions of the country before allowing them to live and practice where they wished.
- Last year, Canadian health authorities told doctors in Prince Edward Island they’re not seeing enough patients and must accept more.
The escalating economic costs of ObamaCare are bad enough. But they pale in comparison to the coming escalating losses of our medical freedom. As a patient, do you want your doctor to be free to practice according his best independent judgment for your best medical interests, or compelled to practice according to government guidelines, beholden to the state for his livelihood?
The Supreme Court may or may not decide to overturn ObamaCare. I hope it does. But if it doesn’t, Americans will still have one last opportunity to overturn ObamaCare at the ballot box this fall: elect politicians committed to repeal.
Robert Heinlein once wrote, “The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” Right now, the first group controls our health care. It’s up to us whether they remain in charge after November.