Unfortunately for all Americans, elected officials and healthcare bureaucrats have taken over medical decisions and imposed government upon the choices Americans used to make regarding healthcare. We see this interference in the government response to the COVID-19 outbreak. And that is not a good thing.
Government officials justify their interference into the field of healthcare in two ways. Under Obamacare, the national government gave itself an incredibly broad scope of power over the healthcare sector, and America is still fully under the thumb of Obamacare as President Trump’s attempts to reform healthcare were defeated in Congress.
The second rationale for meddling into our medical care has been the COVID-19 outbreak. Particularly at the state and local levels where governors, mayors, and healthcare bureaucrats have exercised unconstrained power over virtually every aspect of our lives.
They have shuttered the economy and decided which businesses would be open and which would be closed. They have impacted our social interactions, attacked our religious liberty, curtailed transportation, endangered a food supply chain, caused millions to lose their jobs, and given preference for healthcare for some demographics over others in our society.
Healthcare bureaucrats and state and local elected officials have shut down in-person education. Their policies have produced a secondary health crisis that will begin showing up with increased illnesses and diseases that went undetected or untreated. They have created a nation of virtual shut-ins. Adolescent and young adults have thought about committing suicide in increasing numbers.
It is almost impossible to find an area of life the healthcare bureaucrats and elected officials have not impacted.
Considering the breadth of the reach of these bureaucrats and officials, I was somewhat surprised that a healthcare bureaucrat expressed disapprobation that I, as an elected official, would weigh in on public healthcare policy. He suggested that by proffering an opinion on policies implemented by the government on my constituents, I was outside my lane.
In the “Brave new World” of healthcare in America, government has become as much a participant as doctors, nurses, lab techs, and patients.
So, you see officials in New York City prepare for a surge of younger COVID-19 patients by trying to keep hospital beds empty of the surge of elderly COVID-19 patients who were in desperate need of medical care. Elected officials and medical bureaucrats effectively acted like the death panels we were promised did not exist in Obamacare, by determining who would receive treatment and who would be returned to nursing homes to die.
And we have seen a congeries of inconsistencies in policy implementation by these folks. It was NIH Director Anthony Fauci who said in March that we shouldn’t go around wearing masks, and while masks were largely ineffective in stopping the spread of the virus, wearing them would only serve to provide “comfort” to people.
Of course, he later whipsawed his position, and urged public officials to require mask wearing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) initially said no masks, then recommended mask mandates, later saying not in the case of individuals who were engaged in physical exertion or who had trouble breathing. And the agency finally admitted that masks have little effect in protecting against transmitting the virus when you are in prolonged contact. They define prolonged contact as being within six feet of another person for more than 15 minutes. The CDC has also indicated that being within six feet for under 15 minutes does not place a person at high risk for being infected by COVID.
On masks, the contradictions abound. And, yes, even an elected official can look at the statements of these medical care bureaucrats and call them out for the policies they have imposed on the American people.
Similarly, the bureaucrats and elected officials have limited the use of certain medicines for apparently political purposes. How else can you explain the inconsistent policies throughout the country on hydroxychloriquine, which has been safely used for more than 60 years in this country? Yet, doctors who have used it as a therapeutic treatment in the early stages of COVID have been hauled before state medical boards.
And what of the data being provided to the public by the various public health departments? How good is it? A recent New York Times piece indicated that three states had significant numbers of non-infectious or false positive results. Individuals were shown to be positive that were not.
Months ago, Dr. Deborah Birx stated that there was an overcount of the death rate by at least 25 percent. The CDC now admits that only 6 percent of deaths attributable to COVID-19 were solely caused by COVID-19. The other 94 percent were elderly people with an average of more than 2.5 comorbidities. In other words, most deaths occurred in the population that we knew from the very beginning was most vulnerable.
I’m sure it would be easier for public health bureaucrats if all the citizenry and all the elected officials would simply acquiesce to the zigs and zags of bureaucrat-created health care policy. They would like the unfettered power to impose their policies on the American people. But, ours is not a totalitarian state, yet. The American people have a voice. They should have a say in the development of policies that impact their lives. Especially when some health care bureaucrats and elected officials have expanded their power and authority over our lives in a way that is remaking our society.
Everyone, including elected representatives, have a duty to engage and speak out. This debate is not nearly over. Now that the genie of power is out of the bottle, can we put it back by getting the government out of the healthcare business, and restore medical care decisions to the patients?