Bob Barr

People and organizations other than doctors increasingly are assuming power to decide which medications to prescribe or procedures to undertake. More and more, decisions about personal healthcare are no longer made by the treating physicians in consultation with their patients, and based on the doctors’ expertise. Medical care increasingly is being dispensed via a complex web of bureaucrats (welcome to ObamaCare), elected officials (Mayor Bloomberg, M.D.), insurance companies, and even law enforcement agencies (principally DEA, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration).

Reversing or even slowing the expansion of the Nanny State is an intimidating – indeed, Herculean – task, given its hold on contemporary American society. However, there are some steps we can take to begin this process which is so vital to preserving some degree of freedom, independence and innovation.

History has shown that Big Government expands quickest in the immediate aftermath of a crisis -- real or manufactured. Knee-jerk responses to temporary and often isolated incidents lead seamlessly to permanent policies that far exceed in scope whatever ill they were intended to remedy.

For example, the federal government’s response to 9/11 gave us the TSA, broad warrantless electronic surveillance of international electronic communications, and some of the most flagrant abuses ever of constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Most recently, in response to last month’s mass murder in Newtown, Connecticut, government officials in New York, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and elsewhere are rushing to limit Second Amendment rights for millions of law-abiding citizens, even though most of these measures will do little if anything to truly address the causes of such mass shootings.

Likewise, Bloomberg’s plan will do nothing to solve prescription drug abuse. Yet, in pursuit of this new demon, he will further inhibit the ability of doctors to practice medicine effectively; while increasing the costs of running city hospitals. As for the tens of thousands of poorer New Yorkers who will find themselves on the short end of the stick when it comes to pain management, Bloomberg is unconcerned. "So you didn’t get enough painkillers and you did have to suffer a little bit," Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show. "There’s nothing that you can possibly do where somebody isn’t going to suffer."

New Yorkers – and freedom-loving citizens across our country – ought to be deeply offended at this cavalier, “let-them-eat-cake” attitude. More than a sense of offense, however, New York’s doctors need to openly and vigorously oppose this assault on their profession.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.