California’s Socialized Medicine Rising

by | Aug 18, 2005

This month, in a 73-page position paper, California‘s insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, proposed a government takeover of medicine. That the bureaucrat who would be governor prescribed more government intervention is not surprising. But, because the culture is steeped in the wrong morality of health care and most people do not grasp that government intervention is […]

This month, in a 73-page position paper, California‘s insurance commissioner, John Garamendi, proposed a government takeover of medicine. That the bureaucrat who would be governor prescribed more government intervention is not surprising. But, because the culture is steeped in the wrong morality of health care and most people do not grasp that government intervention is the cause of the crisis in health insurance, they are liable to fall for it and it is likely to spread across state lines.

Garamendi has no power to activate the plan, which amounts to another liberal trial balloon, but, since Republicans want Big Government, too, there is no real dissent–not from the state’s medical association, not from the Governor and not from the White House, which did not even bother to defend Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). Garamendi opposes HSAs because they offer too much choice, an idea no bureaucrat can stand. With his political ambitions, a left-wing legislature and with GOP consent, the Garamendi plan is practically unopposed.

The government already runs much of the medical profession, by Garamendi’s own admission. According to the paper, 40 percent of births and 75 percent of nursing home care in California are funded by state subsidies. These are huge numbers. While Garamendi admits that people come from all over the world to receive what he describes as high quality health care in California, he concludes that too many Californians pay too much for the best health care in the world. But the opposite is true: too many Californians do not pay enough for health care–which is why the rest of us are forced to pay more. Add Medicare, kiddie care and Republican-sponsored drug subsidies and you have incalculable price hikes coming.

Garamendi’s plan puts government in control of payment and treatment. It imposes massive regulations which force hospitals to spend huge sums trying to obey arbitrary rules rather than save lives. Doctors who do not conform to government standards, he warns, will be forced to comply, though he fails to disclose how doctors will be penalized. Supplies are to be seized from city hospitals and redistributed to rural regions, with medical decisions rationed through rigid controls.

It gets worse, especially for doctors. Physicians, it is written–in code for the threat of brute force–must cooperate. Other provisions include expanding Medi-Cal, adding nursing subsidies, and imposing restrictions on pharmaceutical firms, including a ban on advertising. Businesses must surrender proprietary software and follow statewide medical treatment edicts which, he vows, will be governed by a committee.

What do you, the patient, receive for losing the freedom to choose a doctor and hospital? You get to suffer under Garamendi’s bureaucratic rules, which regard the individual’s medical record as a “complex legal” issue. In short, do not expect to send an X-Ray for a second opinion without signing a stack of papers, waiting long hours, or going to court. Garamendi’s government medicine includes regulation of everything from children to grocery stores, which will be forced to provide fresh fruits and vegetables. There’s also a new program to force Californians to adopt a “healthy lifestyle” as defined by a state agency. This is Garamendi’s plan.

Today’s culture is sick with the notion that health care is a right. When one of his press conference participants proclaimed: “you need to take care of us,” she captured the philosophical root of Garamendi’s plan: altruism, the idea that doctors have a moral duty to serve others, by force if necessary. This is to be your doctor’s reward for dedicating his life to the practice of medicine.

California‘s proposal puts into practice what Insurance Commissioner Garamendi has long preached: health care dictatorship, revoking the rights of those who produce medicine–the doctor, the pharmaceutical business, the hospital, the insurance company–and leaving every Californian to fight the state for their lives. Every doctor will be forced to submit or go on strike, which is why Californians–doctors, pharmacists, insurance agents, and those of us who consume what they produce–must reject Garamendi’s socialist philosophy and its cause, the notion that health care is a right, and insist on freedom in medicine.

Scott Holleran's writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Classic Chicago, and The Advocate. The cultural fellow with Arts for LA interviewed the man who saved Salman Rushdie about his act of heroism and wrote the award-winning “Roberto Clemente in Retrospect” for Pittsburgh Quarterly. Scott Holleran lives in Southern California. Read his fiction at ShortStoriesByScottHolleran.substack.com and read his non-fiction at ScottHolleran.substack.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

Have a comment?

Post your response in our Capitalism Community on X.

Related articles

The Young in America Turn Against Capitalism

The Young in America Turn Against Capitalism

If young people worry and wonder about their retirement future, their health care, and medical needs, their chance to afford a place to live, and a reasonable possibility for their lives to be better and more prosperous than their parents, it is precisely because government over the decades has either taken over or heavy- handedly imposed itself over all these and other sectors of the American economy — and brought them to financial crisis and imbalance.

The Justice of an All-Volunteer Military

The Justice of an All-Volunteer Military

The most equitable and just sharing of the burden of America’s military is assured by its all-volunteer nature, and that conscription would be inequitable and unjust.

No spam. Unsubscribe anytime.

Pin It on Pinterest