Surprise, Surprise, Surprise: Capitalism in Medicine Trounces Socialism

Socialism or capitalism for health care?  We know that leftists root for the former.  They are fools to do so.

I've been practicing medicine for over 30 years under various economic systems.  The V.A. I worked at is almost a liberty- free, hard-left system, with doctors and patients grinding through the day under piles of government laws regarding when, where, how much, and who will get medical care.  The waste and inefficiencies are in plain sight there.  Its socialist organization is why thousands of our precious veterans have died prematurely or suffered intolerable waits for the expensive and generally mediocre care of the V.A. system.  Most of my work life has been in "private" practice.  The "private" is really a misnomer, because 60–70% of "private" medicine is now socialized as well.

Remember when Gomer Pyle, USMC, the funny TV character, used to say "surprise, surprise, surprise"?  Well, some fine doctors I know, men of the left, suddenly realized that capitalism — its freedom to earn a profit, its liberty for the doctor and patient to make the health care decisions — seems to be the best type of medicine to practice.  Indeed, surprise!

Most doctors are like all other professionals — knowledgeable in a narrow part of life.  Many are varyingly and often profoundly ignorant in many key areas outside medicine (myself included).  It is the unusual one with a lot of wisdom.  It's why so many embrace such foolish ideologies like leftism — "Medicare for All" or "Health care is a Human Right."  They may be wise about kidneys, but they are fools in their embrace of socialism.

Because of socialism now pervading medicine in the U.S., many of my doctor colleagues have seen their income plummeting, volume of patients skyrocketing, and ability to practice quality medicine severely degraded.  So some have recently shifted to "concierge"-type practice, where the liberty of capitalism may regain some life.  Here, patients pay about $2,000 a year to join the practice and supplement the payments from insurance or Medicare, which are so low that they cannot sustain a medical practice.  This guarantees a reasonable profit for each patient.  Such profit is, as always, the main driving force, the powerful incentive for excellence, high quality, and fine customer service. 

My doctor colleagues reported to me (paraphrased): "Many patients are demanding good, quality, personal medical care again.  They want what you get in the Apple Store, not the DMV.  They will embrace me being able to make a decent profit.  With our current government-controlled medicine scheme, we have to work incredibly hard to come home after taxes with maybe $60,000 a year.  We have to have 2,000–3,000 patients under our care to earn even this.  We are buried under patients and government regulations and aware of hungry malpractice lawyers always waiting to pounce.  This takes huge amounts of freedom and time away from us doing our basic work of caring for people.  We cannot practice decent medicine under such circumstances.  It's mind-numbing, assembly-line medicine.  It's not worth it.  But the infusion of capitalism with the $2,000 profit on the concierge side is basically life-saving for our work and patients.  It allows us to stay in business and shift that patient roll down to a few hundred.  Then we are able again to look these ill men and women in the eyes, take our time with them, respond to their calls and emails, comfort them, take time to think about the complexities of their care, and hence practice medicine as it should be practiced." 

How will Americans on the left respond to this?  What will Joe and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez say?  They will say, like the good little Marxists they are, "This capitalism, profit and freedom garbage reeks of greed and inequality and leaves behind the little guy, the marginalized in America who can't come up with $2,000 extra per year to get such personalized care from a doctor."

I would respond to these people on the left: first, there is no greed that compares to greed of leftist politicians to demand by threat of violence trillions of our dollars to lord it over us.  Second, we agree that every American deserves fine medical care.  Where we soon depart in agreement is that I, and millions like me, believe that just because we deserve things in life, that does not mean we get them.  Like with everything in life, a healthy, strong man needs to go out and work for what he wants or needs.  He needs to earn the money and pay the doctor who provides him with goods and services at an amount both adults, the free buyer and the free provider, agree upon.

Just like with food, clothing, housing , cars, or jet travel, if we let liberty flourish with capitalism, almost all people will get generally what they want and need in this great country.  All will not get it perfectly equally, but almost all will get it in one reasonable form or another.  For those particular folks who, through no fault of their own, cannot afford it, whose families, friends, churches cannot help — then, as the very last resort, government must step in.  This liberty-capitalism paradigm is what makes America so great.  It is why billions of people want to crash through our borders to come and live here.

I'd also say to my leftist friends that currently, one of the primary reasons poor people cannot afford proper and excellent care is that for decades we have been practicing socialism lite in medicine.  The iron fist of government pervades almost every nook and cranny of American health care.  This, like socialism running any part of economic life, always destroys and degrades whatever it touches.  It always creates mediocrity, scarcity, and high costs.  It is the unalterable law of economics.  That $20,000 family insurance policy we now have under socialism lite, under capitalism should really run maybe six or seven thousand dollars.  That $100,000 heart surgery should in reality run $25,000.  But socialism and its big-government control, its destruction of liberty, its destruction of competition and pricing mechanisms, and its false promise of "free stuff" for all destroys the ability to get excellent products and services at low cost.

In an American truly free-market system, the real market costs of medical care would prevail, and all citizens would have all the excellent, plentiful, dignified, focused, individual, and low-cost concierge-type health care they need and deserve.  It's not rocket science.  It's called American know-how, American liberty, and American capitalism. 

So I say to my colleagues, indeed, "surprise, surprise, surprise."  Capitalism works.  Capitalism is liberty.  Capitalism is just and moral because it is steeped in liberty.  Capitalism is what creates an excellent American medical system.  Honestly gained profit is a great thing.  Socialism, like all things of the left is a plague upon us.