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May 1, 2019 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Policy
It seems every other month something new comes out of Venezuela that makes us feel physically ill on a new level.
We’ve heard that police have massacred and abducted protesters, that their inflation rate is 2.3 million percent, that locals have eaten zoo animals to survive, and that since 2015 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled the country.
But now the tyrant Nicolás Maduro has asserted his control over people from other countries in a despicable manner typical of a despot in a failing state.
He’s forced Cuban doctors, who the government sends to Venezuela for that sweet oil money, to prioritize treatment for his voter base, rather than the millions of people who live in what now resembles a post-apocalyptic society.
The doctors have found the tyranny they experience in their own socialist state doesn’t get any better when you switch the leader. Who knew?
All the horror stories are there. The Venezuelan government forced a doctor to not treat a 65-year old patient for heart failure because they were saving the oxygen tanks to manipulate would-be voters closer to the election.
They also threatened a breakdown in Cuban-Venezuelan relations should they not aid in their support for Maduro.
It’s a travesty. It violates every medical ethic and oath we as doctors have sworn to uphold. We should treat the vulnerable in society, not act as political enforcers and interrogate them about their voting habits.
Many of us in The West simply skirt around this issue. Do you remember when Michael Moore was hip? I certainly do. When I was applying to medical school, the interviewers actually asked me about his communist fluff piece Sicko and its ideas, where he praised Cuban medicine as some sort of Garden of Eden.
And then we caught him shaking hands with Hugo Chavez, who laid the groundwork for this humanitarian disaster.
In fact, there’s always been a peculiar reluctance from leading leftist figures to denounce brutal dictators who take their ideology to its logical conclusion.
Apologism has switched from Cuba to Venezuela not just because Venezuela is more newsworthy at the moment, but because we’ve found out that Cuba’s medical system isn’t the haven Michael Moore made it out to be.
We have since learned that Cuban medical missions are actually a human trafficking operation designed to force doctors into slave labor in order to garner political influence and foreign currency for the Cuban regime. And Venezuela is the latest example.
Unfortunately, it’s not just a few popular figures that still don’t seem to ‘get’ that this is a direct result of government control. The younger generations still think, despite all the evidence, that greed and exploitation motivate business while purity and good intentions motivate government.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is very true that businesses are run by selfishness and greed. But so are governments. And businesses go bankrupt much quicker than governments…
The simple fact is Government-run health care will always benefit people in government.
People still think the United States has a hyper-capitalist healthcare system because the government doesn’t have 110 percent control over it. But we can see the worst areas are the ones with the most government control.
That’s because we simply can’t escape supply and demand. It’s one of those indisputable laws that won’t disappear just because your favorite utopian government is in control.
We have bureaucrats at Veterans Affairs who keep people off of waiting lists so their performance metrics look good –and if we compare that to Cuba and Venezuela, that’s mild government control.
The Veterans Affairs admin faces excessive demand that it can’t handle either. But rather than introducing prices/business practices, they use other tactics to sneakily keep people off the waiting lists. That way, the wait times and numbers still look good, but they still restrict the number of people they treat.
All that will happen when you empower government is that they will replace price as the main form of exclusion with politics. And I can assure you, human brutality is much worse and can cause even more shortages.
And yet, we face more shrill calls from the left for more political control of our health care despite decades of proof that it doesn’t work.
The idea that Americans are somehow purer and better people than those in the Third World and developing countries is silly–incentives and human nature are the same across the world.
Let’s not willingly invite exploitative politicians and bureaucrats into our healthcare system. The only way to prevent this behavior in health care is to create a genuinely free and competitive market where the incentive is to please customers.
Note free and competitive. We need to get rid of the garbage that’s already there: licensing laws, inflated drug prices, Obamacare, it all needs to go. When you concentrate power in the hands of politicians and bureaucrats, you get oxygen tanks that are rationed so they can be used to drum up political support. When you disperse power and make them earn it, you get innovation and progress. Funny isn’t it?
This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.