Dueling Doctors

In response to the January 21 article by my dad and me, “More political control of medicine comes with higher costs,” Dr. Michael Pramenko wrote, “With medicine, don’t forget compassion.” Of course, the initiation of political force, which Pramenko advocates, is the antithesis of compassion.

Dr. Paul Hsieh in turn responded to Pramenko’s article. Following are some of Hsieh’s remarks:

Dr. Pramenko is completely wrong and the Armstrongs are completely right on this issue.

Countries which have attempted to guarantee universal health care have ended up rationing care, to the detriment of patients and doctors alike. This is hardly compassionate, as we’ve seen with desperate UK patients who have resorted to pulling their own teeth because the government system won’t let them see a dentist, even when they’re in excruciating pain. Similar problems are widespread in Canada (where women routinely wait for months for their government-approved surgery and chemotherapy after discovering a malignant lump in their breast) or Sweden, Australia, or anywhere else that health care is left up to the “compassion” of the government.

The current problems of the American system are due to government interference in the free markets for medical care and insurance. The current system is anything but a free market. And the only viable solution is to respect individual rights and allow a free market.

As a practicing physician, it would be morally wrong of me to advocate for so-called “universal health care”. Why would I want to support a system which literally kills honest hard-working patients and destroys medical practitioners? Colorado attorney Lin Zinser and I have written an article on this topic entitled “Moral Health Care vs. ‘Universal Health Care'” in the Winter 2007-2008 issue of the national journal, “The Objective Standard”.

The full text of our article is available online…

Every socialized economy in the world has been instituted by force in the name of “compassion”, but because they violate basic rights of individuals, they always lead to misery and suffering. In contrast, free markets are always (and unjustly) called “heartless”, yet they provide tremendous benefits to everyone on the economic ladder because they allow individuals to freely pursue their rational self-interest. The sectors of American medicine which have the least government regulation (such as cosmetic surgery and LASIK eye surgery) show continued decreases in costs and improvements in quality, just like the rest of the free-er US economy, precisely because the government does not attempt to guarantee those services as an entitlement “right”.

If Colorodans value their lives and their health, they’ll reject the siren song of the advocates of socialized medicine and the proposals of the 208 Commission, and support genuine free market reforms instead.

I’ll offer my own response to Pramenko’s claims at a later date.