Some of you reading this are celebrating.  ”Now we all get to have free health care!”  ”It’s about time the government took over this industry!”  I have tried to connect some dots from the physician’s side by asking the question,”..from whom do you now have a right to health care?”  Now let’s take a look from the patient’s side.

This is an emotional issue because people’s lives are at stake and it is therefore understandable that not all the arguments about this issue have been rational.  We are where we are in healthcare now, I have argued, precisely because of government intervention, not from some lack of it.  This is very tough for most people to see, but articles like the one from the Associated Press’s Chief Medical Writer, Marilynn Marchione, make it more clear.  Unintentionally.  ”Large Study Finds That Mammograms Often Bring About Unneeded Treatment,” reads her headline.  

Those of you supportive of national health care wearing your pink ribbons to raise breast cancer awareness need to try to connect the following dots.  I’ll see if I can help you.  

1) Government promises to provide health care to all

2) Government sets up “exchanges,” containing only health plans that provide a federally-defined set of services.  

3) Government accepts applications for “scientific grants” to determine which services are “necessary.”  

4) Government justifies removal of certain services from the “approved list,” citing certain study results.

The study in the New England Journal of Medicine says the following according to Marchione:  …”more than a million women have been treated for cancers that never would have threatened their lives, researchers estimate.”  ”Up to one-third of breast cancers, or 50,000 to 70,000 cases a year, don’t need treatment, the study suggests.” 

Did you get that?  You see, now that the government is going to pay for the care, the government is going to decide what care you get.  They will have no trouble finding “scientists” to find whatever they need for them to find, not unlike the global warming “scientific” findings.  I guess the federal government doesn’t have to list their conflicts of interest when they are commissioning a study!

I was taught in medical school that a surgeon who has never taken out a normal appendix has missed the diagnosis many times.  In other words, a certain percentage of these operations are necessarily unnecessary in order to catch all of the sick patients.  Then there’s the piece of mind issue:  ”Your breast has a cancerous lump, but studies show that we should leave it in you and the government won’t pay for its removal anyway.”  Shouldn’t the patient and her physician decide together?  Is it not clear that deciding what care you receive goes hand in hand with ceding authority to pay for your “care”

Mammograms are the poster child of preventative health screening.  Prostate antigen screenings are another preventative tool that are under scrutiny by government-paid researchers, finding (SHOCK!) that this is also unnecessary.  So much for a focus on preventing disease.  If government is going to make women keep their cancer, I think they should let them keep their large sodas too.  

G. Keith Smith, M.D.