By G. Keith Smith, M.D. – SurgeryCenterOK.com
For all the criticisms I’ve written about the Canadian healthcare system, I think that all things considered, it is probably better (as awful as it is) than what we know as ObamaCare.
I see the two recent Presidential candidates as a socialist (the winner) and a fascist (the loser). The socialist is a wealth redistributionist primarily, but moves in some fascist, public-private partnership circles to fuel his financial needs. The loser, while giving lip service to “liberty” and “freedom” is primarily a tool of the businesses that serve to benefit from their relationship to government, that is, primarily a fascist. Both Obama and Romney claimed that health care is a “right.”
The fascist is certainly “pro-business,” in the sense that this policy results in riches for the businesses, regardless of the effect on the consumer. Ironically, Paul Ryan actually made this statement during the campaign, imploring everyone to distinguish between “pro-business” and “pro-free market.” There is indeed a difference between a vampire economy, a term used by Guenther Reimann in 1938 to describe fascism, and a free market.
Here is why I think that Canada’s system is the lesser of the two evils. In Canada, everyone is in the same boat. When the money is gone, the money is gone for everyone. The only option folks have for getting care is to leave the country and pay out of their pocket. The only motive to ration is national bankruptcy. Having already faced this reality, the provinces now receive a certain amount of money like a reckless teenager on a budget, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. The failures of this system are transparent to all, particularly the Canadians, but misery is shared (almost) equally, a very socialistic setup.
Paradoxically, ObamaCare, bearing the name of a socialist, is fascistic. “Private” companies (giant insurance companies) will collect premiums, that everyone who doesn’t get an exemption must now pay, by law, or else “choose” to pay a tax. The law is written in such a way that only a handful of the insurance companies that now exist will continue to operate, the smoking gun of industry consolidation that has Washington’s fingerprints all over it. These companies will work very hard (and with little competition to prevent them) to ration care for the sake of their profits and stock price. Major stockholders will advocate and profit from the rationing of care to those who need it most.
There you have it. Well-meaning socialist bureaucrats in Canada put their bleeding socialist hearts into prioritizing their fellow citizens’ health needs. In this country, the companies that the government has put in charge will pursue rationing and neglect as policies, this approach being in their own and their stockholder’s self interest. Rationing as an unintended consequence vs. rationing as a profit-generating policy.
Hayek saw little difference between socialism and fascism, writing famously that the central planning characteristic of both made them basically indistinguishable. I like to think about fascism as socialism with some of the central planning outsourced to quasi-private corporations. This allows for the scapegoating of the “businesses” when the government’s policies fail to satisfy the public. In this way, fascism inoculates the failed policy from attacks by adversaries, always maintaining a roster of fall-guys. The totalitarianism is therefore much more difficult to attack, hiding in a way that an overtly socialist policy cannot.
The failures of the Canadian health care system are seen by Canadians as the fault of their government. The failures of ObamaCare will be seen as the fault of the greedy corporations running it, another one standing by to take its place. This may be the winner’s cruelest secret: that for all his popular socialistic talk, he’s really a fascist underneath.
With ObamaCare, it is as if Timothy Leary married J.P. Morgan. It’s hard to understand why liberals support it.
Dr. G. Keith Smith is a board certified anesthesiologist in private practice since 1990. In 1997, he co-founded The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, an outpatient surgery center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, owned by 40 of the top physicians and surgeons in central Oklahoma. Dr. Smith serves as the medical director, CEO and managing partner while maintaining an active anesthesia practice.
In 2009, Dr. Smith launched a website displaying all-inclusive pricing for various surgical procedures, a move that has gained him and the facility, national and even international attention. Many Canadians and uninsured Americans have been treated at his facility, taking advantage of the low and transparent pricing available.
Operation of this free market medical practice, arguably the only one of its kind in the U.S., has gained the endorsement of policymakers and legislators nationally. More and more self-funded insurance plans are taking advantage of Dr. Smith’s pricing model, resulting in significant savings to their employee health plans. His hope is for as many facilities as possible to adopt a transparent pricing model, a move he believes will lower costs for all and improve quality of care.