National Bankruptcy will Repeal Obamacare

Ron Paul tells it like it is: There is no “right” to healthcare. Obamacare will be repealed by a national bankruptcy. The IRS is hiring new agents to steal more money. Central economic planning has failed. A much bigger economic crisis is coming. And, every country in the world is technically bankrupt.

Channel: Fox Business
Date: 03/21/2010


Stuart Varney: Let’s bring in Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul, joining us from Washington. Congressman, always a pleasure to have you with us.

Ron Paul: Thank you.

Stuart Varney: I know you oppose this deal, this healthcare reform bill. We’re assuming that it is going to pass, by all the vote count looks like it is there. Could you tell us what is your biggest single objection to this healthcare bill?

Ron Paul: Well, there’s too many. It is just wrong policy, it’s bad economic policy, it’s bad moral policy, it’s bad constitutional law. But the process is just outrageous. I mean we’re voting on a rule and we’re gonna pass a bill and then the bill will be doctored up a little bit after it. But this idea of an executive order amending the bill, just is such an outrage.
I mean, the process on the floor is such an outrage; at least they are talking about the outrage. But to think that we’ve gotten to the point where we allow our President just to write an executive order, it’s the law of the land. There’s nothing conceivable about that being constitutional.

Stuart Varney: You mentioned some moral problems that you have with this. You see, you talked about the legal problems, political problems, financial problems, all the rest of it. Okay, spell out the moral problem that you have with healthcare reform.

Ron Paul: Well, we’ve been involved in medical care for more than 50 years, which I object to because it’s created this monster: managed care. But all these interventions by the Republicans and Democrats is based on the assumption that people have a right to medical care. And you don’t have a right to medical care.

You have a right to your life, you have a right to your liberty, and you have a right to take care of yourself. But any way, any time a government tries to give you a service or something of substance, they have to steal it from somebody else. So, the whole process is immoral because it is based on government theft. That’s why they’re hiring 16,000 more new IRS agents, so because they have to steal more money.

Stuart Varney: Okay, when we passed it today and I believe it will pass, looks like the votes are there, what does it take to repeal it or roll it back? Surely, it would take 60 Senate Republican votes, a Republican in the White House and a very significant Republican majority in the House. And that sir, looks like an awful long way off.

Ron Paul: Now, the bankruptcy of this country is gonna repeal it because we march onward with whether it’s the endless spending overseas, or the endless spending on welfare, no concern about the deficit. The national debt is going up $2 trillion this year and nobody takes any concern. They don’t realize how serious this is. They’re oblivious to the seriousness of our economic crisis.
We’re not getting out of this crisis, we’re just on the verge of getting in to a much deeper one. And this will precipitate that, and so it will be the bankruptcy of the country and it will be defined by the destruction of the dollar, and government won’t be able to pay any anything out. This is why the people are so upset. It’s because even the liberals realize the government can’t deliver the goods anymore.

Stuart Varney: We talked about this before. And I’ve asked your time horizon on this economic catastrophe, the point at which the markets bring us all up short and stop this spending and debt accumulation. Your time frame last time we talked was over the horizon. It was 2 or 3 years away. Have you brought it up closer because of healthcare reform passage?

Ron Paul: Well, tonight when this passes it will be a major step closer to it. But the events are predictable that are coming. Just like the financial crisis was predictable, but nobody knew that was in September 2008 that that was going to hit us or that the NASDAQ bubble was going to crash in March of 2000.

We don’t know those days but we do know events will come and we have embarked on a course that is unsustainable. You cannot spend this kind of money, borrow this money and create new credit to finance this debt. It will end, it will end badly and it will hurt the people that… many people are very seriously trying to help the people who are suffering and help with medical care. But they’re doing it exactly the wrong thing. Medical care will get worse and this country will go into bankruptcy.

Stuart Varney: The executive order which the President will issue on the subject of abortion, that’s not – is it unconstitutional in some way? Can that be repealed and rejected?

Ron Paul: No, not in today’s circumstances. They’ve been doing this, you know, “stroke of the pen, law of the land, kinda cool”. They’ve been doing it for a long, long time. But you know this whole idea and argument over abortion is not in reality a sincere argument. It’s sincere but it doesn’t accomplish anything. The Hyde amendment doesn’t accomplish anything because we would deny funds going to pregnancy centers and say don’t use any money for abortion.

But all funds are fungible, so this idea that we say don’t use any money. […] money pours in the hospitals and the clinics. If they do, they just shift it around. This idea of fungibility is so clear that this whole argument on the abortion issue is really not touching the right point and that is, why is the government involve in delivering healthcare, why is the government involve in pretending that this is a viable way of delivering anything?

Central economic planning, if anything the 20th century proved, central economic planning fails. Every country in the world today is on the verge of bankruptcy. People brag about other countries having cheaper medical care and all. But every country in the world is technically bankrupt and we’re marching on to a really worldwide economic catastrophe if we’re not careful.

Stuart Varney: So, another dark day for America. Congressman Ron Paul, telling it how he sees it. We appreciate you being with us again, sir. Good to have you.

Ron Paul: Thank you.

  • Lyn

    Somewhere in Kenya a village is missing it’s idiot and the bottom feeders who voted for him. A plague on them all.

  • Dorothy

    One loan voice of reason. Thank God for Ron Paul


  • Dorothy

    One lone voice of reason. Thank God for Ron Paul.

  • john w.

    Inflation is coming and the countries who have holdings against us are going to come in for their dues owed by us or they will quit lending to us. Then the financial bubble will burst. The Fed. policy will eventually derail this country . The housing crises is far from over with not musch hope in the near future . The problems have been stacking up for years and we are now in a fight that I do think is not going to end up in our favor , we have become too complacent. Every civilized country is on the choppng block and we are there with them. Reality is not pretty to look at these days.
    John W

  • Mitch E

    Well looks like America is done for now….next thing we’ll be waking up with Soldiers in M16’s barking orders at us telling US how to run our lives because THEY own us and we’ll be all going to forced labor camps to pay off an infinite debt……at least that’s the future for now….

    *gets out guns*

    • Citizen

      To Mitch E
      Unfortunately we the people simply don’t have the Fire Power to resist this overwhelming force, violent resistance is futile.
      Better to align with the Military and local police to support the “peaceful resistance”

      Its going to be very difficult for many, we will be facing similar events as the Iranians facing with their totalitarian regime.


  • american patriot

    America is own its way now. The dominos are all in place. What a bunch of us americans don’t understand is that health care was the final move to completely end america as we know it. Financial instability is right around the corner. The fed cannot pay for it. The fed cannot control its costs. The fed has not set the foundation correctly for this supplied service. A service they should not supply because they cannot pay for it. The hand outs will break america.

  • RobertH

    @Jim Beam

    Hey ignoramus, at least know what you are talking about first. Where do you think we get our rights and objective morals from in the first place?

    You want other Paul supporters to grow up and not make fools of themselves, how about you be an example yourself?

  • Jim Beam

    Ron Paul’s supporters are dumber than I thought. When he says he has a moral issue with the bill, he is not talking about God or religion. He is saying it’s immoral to take money from one person by force and give it to another. He is saying its immoral to promise care for someone and then fail to deliver. By promising care, people will not need to prepare to care for themselves. They will be that much worse off when the system crashes. That’s immoral.

    The people who are sitting around talking about God in relation to Ron Paul’s comments do not understand Mr. Paul and make his movement look bad. Grow up and learn something before posting another comment and making fools of yourselves.

  • Tom Schoenheider

    To all,

    Somebody in the republican leadership needs to get their head out of their ……..

    Every Obama-head in the country will have ten talking points this morning which are “motherhood, apple pie and Chevrolet”.

    The head of the republican party was on this morning only had this response; “It costs too much” making look exactly like they are trying to take away “good stuff”

    Where are the brains & leadership?

    The negative talking points should be something like: (remember the bill isn’t even totally written yet and this is just from what I have read.

    We agree wholeheartedly that there are some “motherhood, apple pie and Chevrolet” provisions of the new bill, however what if your mother made you buy the clothes she picks out for you? What if apple pie was your only choice and you had to pay for a Chevrolet you didn’t want?

    The unfair and even unconstitutional parts of the bill totally outweigh the apple pie parts:

    Dictated purchases, you will be told what you must purchase by the federal government, a power the constitution does not give them.

    End of life panels who will decide what treatment you receive based on your “worth to society” basically meaning the young and important people will get priority.

    Reduction of Medicare to pay for the new bill which means fewer doctors will accept Medicare and those that do will have more patients than they can handle.

    Emergency rooms will be overrun with patients because the existing doctors cannot take care of 30 million new patients

    Doctors incomes dictated which means the smartest students of today will go to places like AIG not medical school. What student doctor is going to spend 16 years to become a brain surgeon if he will not be able to make more money than he can make the maximum amount as an MD? Who then will do your brain surgery?

    Medical schools will have to keep their classes full but instead of the “best and brightest”, they will have settle for the “not quite so smart”.

    Also, just so you know, there is a provision in the bill that certain sections “can never be changed in the future by Congress”.

    Who among us wants the IRS involved in their health care?

    Who wants to support an additional 141 government agencies and have them involved in your health care?

    Who wants the government to have the ability to take money from your tax return and/or directly from your bank account?

    Sure there are some good things in the new bill, but the cost to freedom and independence are far too great of a price not even counting the money we don’t have. That’s right “we don’t have”. The government has no money to pay for all of this unless they take it from us.

    Wake up America. The current administration is headed down the wrong path. Redistribution of wealth has never worked anywhere in the world. It won’t work here and the only people who should even think about liking it are those who are too lazy to try for themselves. Our country already has hundreds of safety nets for those who are trying.

    Anyway, unless somebody starts putting issue like these in front of the American people starting this morning, Obama will be on the road this afternoon with the ten best mothers, apple pies and Chevrolets.

    Maybe if you pass this on it will end up with somebody who can spread the message in this manner as to make the pie not taste nearly as sweet???

    Take care,

    • Mad Dog

      Tom, in your 8:55 post, you indicated that:
      “Sure there are some good things in the new bill …”.
      You seem more familiar with this bill than I; could you share what those good things are?

      You see, I strongly support reforming our Medical Cost Insurance system (which, by the way, has nothing to do with “health care”). Unfortunately, I am not aware of anything in this Bill that will fix any of the wrongs.

      I look forward to your response.

  • jc

    Next on the Socialistic agenda is Amnesty and Cap n Trade with a pinch more of Global Whining. Pelosi and her cronies will suck every last dime out of the hard working American people, give it all away to the free loading society, which will assure the Dems their cheap votes for the next hundred years. Amnesty will be the nail in the coffin…

    The New World Order is just warming up folks so be prepared and please don’t forget to thank Clinton & Bush Administrations for their participation.

    November will be huge! It will be our last chance to vote these clowns out of office DEM OR REP so make sure you’re there…

    • Fred the Protectionist

      “Next on the Socialistic agenda is Amnesty and Cap n Trade with a pinch more of Global Whining. ”

      And we can all thank the Libertarians for empowering the Socialists. Thank you Libertarians, they couldn’t have done it without you.

  • Dickie Wayne Snide

    Impeachment procedings along with prosecution proceedings should be brought on everybody within the Obama administration, and every congressman and congresswoman involved in passing this clear attempt to collapse the American and Global financial system, and the clear attempt to abolish the Constitution of the United States of America.
    Which is a direct violation of their oath of office to uphold and protect the constitution.

  • Bar Farkas

    time to take the god out of government! time for real freedom!!

  • Bar Farkas

    As much as I agree with Ron Paul his arguments about a “moral” bill are laughable. It’s just not consistent to be pro liberty, small gov., and legislate according to the bible. Freedom means freedom from the tyranny of god which is doing much more damage than anything the fed could do. Where is the outrage about the $1 trillion we spend every year for the military? That’s not paid for. If the gov. is going to shift and make it’s priority spending money on its’ own citizens then that’s a step in the right direction.

  • YRU

    What can we do? Why don’t we all reject health insurance all
    together and develop cooperatives like a HMO where we pay by cash. We could hire our own doctors and even buy hospitals. I mean I am not in debt and could afford health care if we only had to pay what my insurance company pays. As cooperative would negotiate with doctors etc to keep costs down. Our rejection of socialist health care will be like dumping tea into Boston bay.

    • Fred the Protectionist

      No, dumping tea into Boston bay would be like dumping tea in Boston bay.

      The Boston Tea Party was an act of protectionism.

      If the Boston Tea Party were an act of Libertarianism they wouldn’t have dumped the tea into the ocean, they would have stole it, and then sold it back with interest.

  • Todd

    Healthcare, Cap and Tax, Federal Reserve Act etc. These are all symptoms of a greater evil. America collectively has continued to ask God to stay out of our business. I believe God, with a heavy heart has listened. Our leaders for a century now have totaly disregarded our constitution to the point that I don’t think they realize it exists. If the Federal Reserve Act, which we all know was a conspiracy and totaly illegal cannot get repealed (It’s been nearly 100 years), then what makes anyone think that Obamacare will get repealed. The Federal Reserve Act has made the private banks of the Fed wealthier beyond belief, at the expense of our freedom. I aplaud Ron Paul for his valiant efforts to “End the Fed”, but we need more. will it take a Boston Masacre or a Lexington Masacre for the American People to wake up? I hope not. But people here and around the world have said for far to long “That could never happen”, yet since the Federal Reserve Act was signed the World has seen genocide and poverty like no other time. Please people, “wake up”. Pray for our country and leaders like Ron Paul. Read II Chronicles 7:14.

  • Thomas Michael, Jr.

    It’s all much bigger than health care! Combined with the immigration amnesty deal, the idea is to collapse the dollar. Why? So we can adopt the Amerodollar and create the North American Union. And why has the government built close to 800 detention camps across the U.S.? And why are U.N. troops in the U.S. now? And why are U.S. troops being sent overseas? Sounds crazy, but here goes…. The collapse of the dollar would create chaos –> the government declares martial law –> but American troops would not fire on American citizens–> but U.N. troops would—-> New World order opponents (read patriots) are taken by U.N. troops to these “detention camps” —> government creates another false or manmade crisis and magically becomes the savior! Search “detention camps.” Search “U.N. troops in U.S.” You can even find photos of U.N. vehicles being brought into the U.S. The research is easy and you’ll be shocked by what you find. The individual pieces sound ridiculous until the puzzle begins to take form. Have you stopped to consider this vitriolic debate over health care is merely a red herring to distract us from the real danger? Give it some serious thought before you write this off….

  • ALEX JONES WAS RIGHT! We can still be educated (

    Obviously, many more will die for their country. Their plan is working, people are STILL SLEEPING. History does repeat. A war of some kind will ensue. Washington is waiting to hear from us and not through our pathetic excuse for representation. They will.


  • Iwant Liberty

    It is disconcerting to see America going down the socialist road that Europe and Canada have already traveled (I live in Canada under a socialist system of tax-funded medical health care). No one believes that Obamacare will result in lower taxes; global experience shows that socialized medicine only results in higher taxes for everyone AND a much lower level of service for everyone. The health care reform in Massachusetts has left a $300 million hole in their budget, and higher taxes will result. That is only a small sign of worse things to come. As Dr. Paul points-out, we need competition in medicine to bring the costs down. We need entrepreneurial doctors and businesses to be free to address the needs of the marketplace… not Big Brother!

  • Richard Acosta


    The American Medical Association (AMA) was founded in 1847 around two propositions: one, all doctors should have a “suitable education” and two, a “uniform elevated standard of requirements for the degree of M.D. should be adopted by all medical schools in the U.S.” [1] In the days of its founding AMA was much more open–at its conferences and in its publications–about its real goal: building a government-enforced monopoly for the purpose of dramatically increasing physician incomes. It eventually succeeded, becoming the most formidable labor union on the face of the earth.

    AMA’s initial drive to increase physician incomes was motivated by increasing competition from homeopaths (AMA allopaths use treatments–usually synthetic–that produce effects different from the diseases being treated while homeopaths use treatments–usually natural–that produce effects similar to those of the disease being treated). This competition did serious damage to the incomes of AMA allopaths. In the year before AMA’s founding, the New York Journal of Medicine stated that competition with homeopathy caused “a large pecuniary loss” to allopaths. [2] In the same issue, the dean of the school of medicine at the University of Michigan railed against competition because it made treating sickness “arduous and un-remunerative.” [3]

    Apart from reversing rapidly declining incomes, allopaths also wanted to rescue their public reputations, which quite reasonably suffered given their proficiency in killing patients through such crude practices as bloodletting (“exsanguination”) or mercury injections (poisoning). A few allopaths desired adulation normally reserved for star athletes and actors. The Massachusetts Medical Society opined in 1848 that physicians should be “looked upon by the mass of mankind with a veneration almost superstitious.” [4]

    Shut ’em Down

    The curse of medical education is the excessive number of schools–Abraham Flexner, 1910.

    To accomplish the twin goals of artificially elevated incomes and worship by patients, AMA formulated a two-pronged strategy for the labor market for physicians. First, use the coercive power of the state to limit the practices of physician competitors such as homeopaths, pharmacists, midwives, nurses, and later, chiropractors. [5] [6] Second, significantly restrict entrance to the profession by restricting the number of approved medical schools in operation and thus the number of students admitted to those approved schools yearly. [7]

    AMA created its Council on Medical Education in 1904 with the goal of shutting down more than half of all medical schools in existence. (This is the Council having its 100th anniversary celebrated in Chicago this weekend.) In six years the Council managed to close down 35 schools and its secretary N.P. Colwell engineered what came to be known as the Flexner Report of 1910. The Report was supposedly written by Abraham Flexner, the former owner of a bankrupt prep school who was neither a doctor nor a recognized authority on medical education. Years later Flexner admitted that he knew little about medicine or how to differentiate between different qualities of medical education. Regardless, state medical boards used the Report as a basis for closing 25 medical schools in three years and reducing the number of students by 50% at remaining schools.

    Since AMA’s creation of the Council a century ago, the U.S. population (75 million in 1900, 288 million in 2002) has increased in size by 284%, yet the number of medical schools has declined by 26% to 123.[8] [9] In terms of admissions limits, the peak year for applicants at U.S. schools was 1996 at 47,000 applications with a limit of 16,500 accepted. [10] This works out to roughly 64% of applications rejected. [11] On a micro level, for the last six years the University of Alabama (hardly a beacon of prestige in the medical discipline) has averaged about 1,498 applicants per year with an average of about 194 accepted. This is about an 87% rejection rate. The sizes of the entering classes have been of course even smaller, averaging about 161.

    AMA would likely argue that there’s nothing necessarily wrong with very high rejection rates. This is correct, except for the fact that these rates are being applied to pools of candidates who are cream-of-the-crop in quality and have put themselves through a very costly admissions process. [12] Current admissions practices could still be justified by what Milton Friedman (1982, p. 153) refers to as a “Cadillac standard.” (Getting away from the pop-culture anachronisms of the 1960s, let’s say “Lexus standard” a la the government decides that every driver today deserves nothing less than Lexus quality.) Applied to health care, the benefits of a Lexus standard could supposedly offset the costs of rejecting many ostensibly qualified applicants.


    The first problem with asserting the existence of a Lexus standard in health care from very stringent admissions policies are the contradictions introduced by current racial and sexual preferences. The Center for Equal Opportunity found that at a sample of six medical schools, more than 3,500 white and Asian candidates were not admitted in spite of having higher undergraduate grades and MCAT scores than Hispanic and African-American applicants who were admitted in their place. The Center’s study didn’t touch on sex discrimination but undergraduate science professors indicate that it clearly exists as well. [13]

    The second blowout on our shiny Lexus would be the number of unnecessary/questionable procedures performed on patients every year. Ex-surgeon Julian Whitaker (1995) tirelessly rails against the excesses of angioplasty (PTCA), atherectomy (directional and rotational), and coronary bypass. [14] Whitaker states that, with few exceptions, all three procedures for heart-disease patients have been empirically shown to be utter failures in terms of solving short-term problems without creating long-term problems which are much worse.

    The first complete study of bypass effectiveness was the Veterans Administration Cooperative Study [15]. Between 286 patients who received bypass surgery and 310 who did not, the survival rate at the end of 3 years was 88% for the bypass group and 87% for the control group. In an 8-year follow-up to a second VACS study [16] among 181 low-risk patients, the bypass group had a much higher cumulative mortality rate (31.2%) compared to the non-surgery group (16.8%). This was among a group of low-risk patients to begin with.

    A Rand study [17] revealed that nearly 50% of bypass operations are unnecessary. Whitaker [18] notes that the number of bypass surgeries since this Rand study, which should have plummeted, has increased by more than 50%. While the death rate from heart disease declined from 355 per 100,000 in 1950 to 289 per 100,000 in 1990, the amount of bypass operations jumped from 21,000 in 1971 to 407,000 in 1991, a increase of more than 1,838%. [19] Whitaker states that laypersons are quick to attribute increases in life expectancy to surgery, but the credit clearly belongs to greater exercise and healthier diets.
    Other examples:

    180 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were given arthroscopic débridement, arthroscopic lavage, or placebo surgery (skin incisions and simulated débridement). In two years of follow-up the surgery group reported no less pain or impaired joint function than the placebo group. Six placebo patients liked their fake surgery so much they wanted it performed on their other knee.[20] For other arthroscopies, knee surgeon Ronald Grelsamer, M.D., states that at some hospitals doctors are performing as many as “ten a week [where] nine are unnecessary.” [21]
    Jens Ivar Brox, M.D., in a Norwegian study compared the effects of spinal fusion surgery with non-surgical therapy for 64 patients with chronic lower-back pain and disc degeneration. The non-surgical treatment was as effective as surgery, but at a fraction of the cost with no complications.[22] With regard to fusions for lower back pain, Nortin Halder M.D., stated, “If this were a pill and I used it, I would probably lose my license and go to jail.” Nevertheless, there are about 125,000 fusion surgeries a year at $30,000 each bringing back surgeons a hefty yearly median income of $545,000.[23]
    Stuart Spechler, M.D., studied 247 patients with severe acid reflux in the 1980s and found that surgery was significantly more effective in improving symptoms than lifestyle changes and drugs. [24] These results reversed in the 1990s after the introduction of proton pump inhibitors (today’s Prevacid, Nexium). About 62% of surgery patients still needed drugs to control reflux and had no less incidences of esophageal cancer than non-surgery patients. [25] Mayo Clinic’s Yvonne Romero, M.D., is even more pessimistic, pointing out that in countries where surgery has been performed longer than the U.S. (e.g., Brazil), as much as 85% of surgeries fail after 15 years. Says Spechler, “When you look at data it is hard not to be biased against surgery.” Nevertheless, about 65,000 Nissen fundoplications are performed each year at a price of $10,000 each. [26]
    Hysterectomy (uterus removal) is the probably the best example of an often unnecessary surgery. While a necessity for uterine cancer patients, gynecologist Michael Broder, M.D., found that in a sample of about 500 women, about 70 shouldn’t have received the surgery for any reason whatsoever and about 350 hysterectomies had been performed without any diagnostic tests to determine if the surgery was appropriate in the first place. About 70 women with benign fibroids had their uteruses removed without first trying drugs or other treatments that could have been effective. [27]

    A final challenge to the Lexus standard is the number of accidental deaths occurring in U.S. hospitals every year. Harvard University’s Lucian Leape estimated that there are approximately 120,000 accidental deaths and 1,000,000 injuries in U.S. hospitals every year. [28] To understand what staggering figures these are, imagine a Boeing 777-200 with its maximum of 328 passengers crashing every day for an entire year with no survivors. This would add up to 119,720 deaths, still not as many as are killed through medical error in hospitals every year. UCLA Professor of Medicine Robert Brook, M.D., told the Associated Press, “The bottom line is we have a system that is terribly out of control. It’s really a joke to worry about the occasional plane that goes down when we have thousands of people who are killed in hospitals every year.” [29]

    Certainly not all accidental hospital deaths can be attributed to institutionalized AMA mischief. Errors by nurses, pharmacists, and sleep-deprived residents play a role as well. However, there’s also no doubt that AMA-backed restrictions against greater specialization have helped wreak their havoc over time as well. [30] A later study by Leape [31] showed that just the presence of a pharmacist on physician rounds reduced adverse drug reactions from prescribing errors by 66%. [32] [33] Despite some shortcomings, the U.S. system still has some of the finest physicians, surgeons, research, and facilities in the world. However, the best aspects of the system are due to whatever vestiges of market freedom still survive, not some illusory Lexus standard supposedly created by strict statist controls. [34]

    The Exceptional World of the Modern Physician

    AMA has built an impressive edifice, one that has completely insulated physicians from recessionary (“cyclical”) and until recently, technological (“structural”) unemployment. While decade in, decade out, recessions, depressions, consolidations, and (recently) outsourcing have dislocated millions of blue-collar, engineering, computer programming, and middle management employees from jobs and forced permanent career changes, physicians as a class have been almost completely immune. Unlike workers in most other industries, a competent, licensed physician with a clean record who remains unemployed despite months and months of search for work is unheard of in the U.S. [35]

    Restricting labor supply has markedly boosted incomes. Median yearly salaries for primary-care physicians are $153,000, for specialists $275,000. [36] Another more recent survey across many specialties and 3+ years of experience makes hospitalists relative paupers of the profession at $172,000 and spine surgeons at the high end raking in $670,000.

    Restricted supply aside, there’s certainly nothing wrong with competent physicians becoming fabulously wealthy at their craft and nothing about a free market that would ever preclude such. Indeed one of the worst transgressions of current system is allowing the most rude, incompetent, and stupid physicians (e.g., Clinton Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders who wanted public schools to teach first graders how to masturbate) to earn incomes relatively close to competent ones.

    Of course life is not a complete bowl of cherries for all physicians. Malpractice insurance premiums for some Ob/Gyns are now running as high as $160,000 per year. Some Ob/Gyns have been lucky to have their hospitals pick up the tab. Others have had to move to different states. No one would disagree with AMA that paying $160,000 in insurance premiums is outrageous.

    The problem is that AMA’s restriction of labor supply has made the problem worse at the margin than it otherwise would be. Plus, exactly how does a thoroughly rent-seeking organization such as AMA lecture malpractice attorneys on the adverse consequences of wealth redistribution? It can’t with any convincing credibility, thus it has no effective answer to some in the far Left either, who want to conscript physicians to provide infinite “free” care to them because they claim they have a “right” to it.

    Robots to the Rescue?

    Two recent articles on the Web show two divergent paths the U.S. health care system can take. A recent story on MSNBC reflects the worsening status quo. It was a report on a new robot (“robo-doc”) that roams hospital halls visiting patients in place of a physician (see photos). The robot is controlled from remote location by a physician. The device is an obvious implicit attempt to cope with the artificial scarcity of physicians. Most of the patients, instead of laughing the pathetic robot out of their wing, thought the idea was jim dandy. Presumably they couldn’t explain how the armless robot would resuscitate them if their conditions took a sudden turn for the worse.

    On the other hand, the great Ron Paul, M.D., has recently discussed the trend of cash-only practices which reject all insurance as well as Medicaid and Medicare. He profiles a Robert Berry, M.D., who charges only $35 for routine visits. (This is about half to a third of what I’m typically charged–with insurance at that–and yet my current doctor, whose income in one year exceeds what I make in five, is moving to another practice because she wants more money.) Cash-only practices of course do nothing to address physician supply, but some relief is better than none, especially when living in a clueless American public that thinks robo-docs represent actual progress in medicine.

    A happy 100th birthday to the Council on Medical Education…and for the sake of all our health, hopefully not too many more.

    A follow up article is posted at Real Medical Freedom

    Dale Steinreich, Ph.D., is an adjunct scholar of the Mises Institute, and contributor to The author is indebted to Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., for his incisive synopsis of AMA history in the June 1994 issue of Chronicles. Comments by economists L. Aubrey Drewry, Jr., Ph.D., Paul A. Cleveland, Ph.D., and Richard O. Beil, Ph.D., were of great value. [email protected]. Comment on the Blog.

  • Art

    It’s way past time to put our big borrower/big spender/big taxer government on a fixed income. Start with: (1.)Repeal the 16th Amendment and the Federal Reserve Act. (2.)Establish a simple and single, flat and fair system of taxation with a permanent ceiling of 10%(pattern it after the biblical tithe). Locally elected tax authority (within county government and with set term limit) collects the 10% of personal or corporate gain (no other taxes). State elected tax authority (with set term limit) collects 10% of that locally collected tax. Federal elected tax authority (with set term limit) collects 10% of the state collected tax. (3.)Set term limits for all elected and appointed government positions.