Roger’s Rules

Micro-encephalitis at the New England Journal of Medicine

Who would have thought that the venerable New England Journal of Medicne, once a respected scientific journal, would succumb so thoroughly to the virus of political correctness? A friend regularly sends me anguished hand-wringing bulletins from the NEJM. Increasingly, they have nothing to do with medicine and everything do to with emitting little left-wing progressive bleats about social policy. The latest emission concerns the fate of ObamaCare before the Supreme Court. “Is Medicaid Constitutional” is a sad piece, really, for it betrays evidence of serious cognitive deterioration. Here’s the argument:

If the Supreme Court declares ObamaCare un-Constitutional, a kindred argument could be used to question the Constitutionality of Medicaid, the federally funded program that pays for medical services for the poor. If the plaintiff’s argument against ObamaCare is accepted, reasoned Justice Breyer, then “Medicaid has been unconstitutional since 1964,” when it was signed into law.

Ergo — what? Ergo, according to the microbrains at the NEJM, it is imperative to defeat this challenge to ObamaCare.

How’s that for a leap? Why not challenge Medicaid, the unsustainable, spendthrift invention of 1960s Utopianism? Why not think about caring for the poor in a way that gets the federal government, the world’s most inefficient bureaucracy, out of the picture? Why not let local organizations deal with their local problems without getting the vast, impersonal state apparatus of Washington involved? Why not a little fresh thought about this problem? Sure, Samuel Johnson was right when he observed that “a decent provision for the poor is the true test of a civilization.” But foisting an inefficient, unsustainable social program of the less-well-off is an indecent provision.  Basing social policy on fantasy is an immoral, not a moral, action, no matter emollient rhetoric accompanies it. The NEJM should get back in the business of collecting and disseminating medical knowledge and leave the left-wing politics to folks like Jesse Jackson.