Over a decade ago, the 111th congress slammed through the controversial Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act more popularly known as ObamaCare. It was the next major step in the already continual centralization of government involvement and control of Americans’ personal health care. In the decade following, the trend has only continued as more and more personal health care decisions now begin and end with bureaucracy.
Now, two years since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, more governmentalization of health care has deprived us not only of our health but our freedoms. Politics and bureaucracy have corrupted the health care industry and subjected us to the will of bureaucracy and the lobbyist class. In the response to COVID, its multiple variants, and the vast amount of uncertainty and unknowns, there should be universal agreement that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Yet the government is continually permitted to dictate how health care is delivered and who it is delivered to.
Recently the FDA announced it would no longer distribute two monoclonal antibody treatments to states. The claim is these antibody treatments have no effect on the new omicron variant which makes up 99.5% of all cases, with delta making up the other 0.5%. With new cases around 750,000 per week in the United States, that is between 5,000 and 10,000 people who no longer have access an effective treatment, limiting the choices of anyone who would like to voluntarily choose to try the monoclonal treatment.
In unprecedented times of uncertainty with an already embarrassing track record of governmental errors and missteps, the answer is not less freedom but more.
When the government controls access to treatments, it is a gray-suited bureaucrat who decides if you live or die. A young father of two was removed from the heart transplant list at a Boston hospital. Organs are already difficult to come by and the wait list can be upwards of five years. Patients already have to meet stringent criteria to be accepted on the list, and now politics and bureaucracy has determined that the choice not to receive an experimental vaccine is enough to remove you from the list. Politics and health care should not mix.
The proper role for government involvement in health care is limited to providing non-politicized research and information to the public. Monoclonal antibody treatments are probably less effective against omicron than the delta variant, but this does not mean the state should restrict access to them, and receiving an experimental vaccine should not be a requirement to receive a lifesaving organ transplant. Already plagued with a PR nightmare caused by deceit and misinformation towards the public, the bureaucracy should be attentive in rebuilding trust. Continuing to control who can have what treatment puts lives at risk and continues to erode trust in government.
During extenuating circumstances there is a potential role for the government to supplement production and distribution of proven treatments if the market is unable to meet the demand. But supplementing production in times of unprecedented demand is a long way from complete governmentalization of health care and medical supplies. The supply chain disaster the world has been dealing with for months now should be evidence enough against allowing government to manage the delivery of Americans’ health care.
When the government centrally plans, people become nothing more than a cog in the machine. Bureaucrats are unable to see the supply chain or the economy for what it truly is, individual people with unique needs. To simplify our complex world, the bureaucrat reduces people to metrics in a formula and quantifies some goal they came up with in a board room. Success is reduced to hitting some metric they can advertise on a government website. While they show some national trend and tell us why we should be afraid, and what we can or cannot do with our own health care and lives, we are left with fewer options and less hope.
When government plans, people suffer.
The COVID-19 pandemic has given us an opportunity to progress in a positive direction. Progressing towards medical freedom should be something everyone supports. There is always talk about progress and being progressive. Let’s stop and ask where we are trying to progress to? The answer should be towards more freedom. Because with freedom we can discover the good stuff and work together to solve the world’s challenges.