Monday, August 3, 2009

Beware of socialized medicine

You baby boomers are too young to remember the problems the UK had with their socialized medicine. During World War II, I worked on a farm as an early teenager and then Winston Churchill, who brought England through the war, was tossed out of office like a broken piece of furniture. The Socialist Clement Atlee instituted socialized medicine.

Britain gave up its empire and gave freedom to all of its former colonies to pay the huge bill for free medical care. The cost was so great that no new hospitals would be built for almost 20 years. People flocked to doctors' offices and then threw the prescriptions into a trash barrel outside the office if they didn't like what the doctor prescribed. Winston Churchill fell and broke his hip and had to wait six days before he could be taken to a bed in the hospital. Since the doctors were on a salary and worked only eight hours, they walked out of the operating room at the end of their shift and were replaced by the relief shift, much to the detriment of the patient. There was no choice of physicians and if you did not like the one you were assigned, it was against the law to pay another doctor to see you, if you were lucky enough to find one.

Other countries went the same direction in socialized medicine, and in Sweden, doctors were not allowed name tags on their coats because it discriminated against orderlies who demanded the same status. In other words, socialism put all participants on the same stage of importance. Having been awarded my medical degree in 1963, I have lived through the full spectrum of medical care and took care of welfare patients before Medicare and Medicaid were enacted in 1965 and put into action in 1966. From that point on, there has been a progressive erosion of the medical profession as government power brokers seek control of the healing arts.

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