Have you ever seen someone walking down the street looking like they were in a daze; confused and disoriented? You know this guy is “on something.” If you ask him where he’s going he doesn’t know, but its obvious he’s just trying to find his next fix, or drink, or joint; take your pick. This is the difficult life of an addict. The sad thing is that everyone can see it except the addict. He is always the last to know, and if you ask him how it happened, he’ll likely tell you someone gave him his first taste for free. This is precisely the mechanism used to create a variety of “social” addictions in America. Various government programs have been created over the years, which offer to those “in need” something of value for free. Soon, the recipient of assistance no longer views it as a handout; rather it becomes something to which they believe they are actually entitled. But, for the government to provide a benefit to some of its citizens for nothing it must first take a comparable something away from others.
How can a government justify taking stuff (money) from one and giving to another? The argument often includes a not so subtle implication that those who have stuff must have gotten it illegally or immorally or because they were born into a position of privilege. Likewise, those who are “underprivileged” must be victims of bad luck or discrimination or oppression. The objective is to create a subconscious guilt among the “haves” even if they have no logical reason to feel that way, and a sense of entitlement among the “have nots” even though they have no right to what the government is offering. We are seeing this play out today on the streets of America in the form of “Occupy” everywhere.
In the last couple of years the process of addiction to government has focused largely on healthcare, but the problem is far bigger. Here in America we have created a society filled with countless “pushers” and “enablers” for everything from Federal unemployment insurance to backroom deals that loan millions to businesses building solar panels that no one wants to buy. But the unasked question is why? Why is this happening? At least in the world of drugs the answer is obvious – follow the money. It isn’t some malicious attack on our youth that motivates drug dealers to offer a kid his first taste of marijuana or crack cocaine; its the potential profits that come from the sale of those drugs once the user has been hooked. In the case of government offerings the real currency is not just money, its also political power.
Politicians have learned that the best way, and in some cases the only way, to get elected is to promise their constituents a government solution to a specific problem. The bigger and more wide spread the problem the more appeal the solution will have. Healthcare is a prime example. Everybody needs it, everybody thinks it is too expensive and they believe they can’t get it on their own. So, the adroit politician devises a plan that uses political influence to allocate public funds to pay for private services. To sell the idea he uses a highly emotional personal story about how Mrs. Jones was unable to see a doctor until it was too late. The narrative then follows, “How can we, the most prosperous nation in history, sit idly by and let this happen?” With the problem now well defined, the solution is obvious. The good guys in the white hats, government bureaucrats, must develop a complex system that keeps this from happening. Voila! – Medicare, Medicaid and now Obamacare, with the unsuspecting masses rapidly becoming reliant on Uncle Sam to provide for their healthcare services.
But wait! The government can’t actually prescribe you a medication or take out your appendix. Only a licensed physician can do those things, and those guys want way too much money, right? Enter government price-fixing and the entire system is now under the absolute control of politicians and bureaucrats. By way of demonstration, the single most common phrase contained within the new healthcare law (Obamacare) is “The Secretary of Health and Human Services shall…”
Most Americans and most American physicians have become addicted to the government healthcare system because we have empowered them to control the flow of our money. That control is maintained through a combination of political promises, continued emotional appeals and economic coercion. The modern phrase used to describe this process is social engineering, and healthcare has become the prime example of what is clearly an expanding phenomenon throughout our society.
Sadly, a side effect of any addiction is the individual’s loss of control of their own decision-making, but an even more important effect is the loss of passion and enthusiasm to be the best they can be. The cumulative effect of addictions is to make a person weaker and less self-reliant. This is precisely what is happening throughout America and, yes even in the Medical profession. It was that American spirit of self-reliance reinforced by the internal satisfaction that only comes from personal accomplishment that made this nation great. We are watching that spirit be systematically crushed by the social engineers who believe they know what is best for each individual and for society as a whole. And, like all addicts, the unsuspecting and overly trusting American people, along with their doctors, are indeed, The Last to Know.
The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect or represent the policies or opinions of any medical organization or group.
Check out my web site at www.robertsewellmd.com