If ObamaCare Passes, Will You Ever Be Able to Trust Your Doctor?

Trust is a funny thing. We want to trust our families and friends, totally. In a time of prosperity we can indulge that desire to trust. But in time of tradeoffs, when money for Auntie's doctor really has to come from the food budget, you see fierce competition in families. That's what the whole Oedipal complex notion is about: generational politics in a time of great scarcity.

Most of human history was that. In every imperial family in history -- Rome, Ottoman Turkey, the Saudi kingdom -- it turned into literal killing. Read the Bible, and you'll see it repeated over and over again.

We live in a time of amazing prosperity and medical progress. We are used to allocating money for poor people, for children with illnesses, and for the dreaded illnesses of old age. Historically that is a great luxury. Europe created socialized medicine after fifty years of huge catastrophes and class warfare -- after World War I, the Russian Revolution, the Great Depression, and World War II. So fifty years of real, daily suffering, with more than a hundred million people dying. That's when they created socialized medicine. It was a sort of rational decision at the time. The Brits had to ration food and gasoline during World War II. So did everybody else. So rationing medicine made sense, especially to the poor.

America may become the first nation to choose socialized medicine at a time of unprecedented prosperity and medical progress. It is an interesting experiment in national masochism. I don't think we'll like it, because the trust we have for each other and for our doctors will evaporate. Taxes will go out of control, and medical services will get cut and "rationalized."  Your doctor will work for the state, just like your children's teachers and college professors. They will all talk up the state systems, because that's where the money and power will be.

Yes, but it's hope and change.