How to get rid of medical care: Socialist Venezuela shows the way

Socialism, so vaunted for all its "free health care" is leading the way for the elimination of all medical care, in Venezuela.

Seems that treating gang members is a life-threatening proposition for doctors in the country's public hospitals. Cure the gangbanger of whatever bullet or knife wounds he gets out on the streets, and you live. Lose such a patient, as you work in a hospital without bandages or medical supplies, and the gang members kill you.

The Miami Herald reports:

Junior Rodríguez is used to seeing death and violence up close because he's a doctor in a public hospital in Venezuela, one of the world's most dangerous countries.

But the violence has been turning more personal for Rodríguez and the rest of the medical staff at the Dr. Luis Razetti de Barcelona University Hospital in the eastern state of Anzoátegui.

The staffers work under constant death threats made by relatives or friends of patients — some of them dangerous gang members — if the patients die.

“Most of the time that's the doctor's worst fear, that the patient dies and the relatives take it out on him,” Rodriguez said in a telephone interview. “The threat of harm if the patient dies is always there. We don't have any kind of protection. You treat a person who turns out to be a criminal, and if that person decides to point a gun at you, there's nothing you can do.”

Nobody can work in those conditions.  This is the absolute end of medical care in Venezuela. There just won't be any if trying to treat a patient amounts to a death sentence for the doctor. So will the last Venezuelan doctor kindly turn out the light? Well, no - there's no electricity, either.

What, if anything, does this horrible situation have to do with socialism? Well, start with the gun issue. The socialist government decreed that only cops can have guns. The signature shortages of socialism left the cops without guns, and the depreciation of the currency to wheelbarrow sizes in exchange left the cops without any money to buy them even if there were guns to buy. Now just gang members, who live utterly outside the law, are the only ones with guns in the country. Venezuela's socialism, so praised by Bernie Sanders, Michael Moore, Joe Kennedy, and Sean Penn, has left the only power to enforce anything in the country in the hands of gangs. As a result, the country now resembles the Lord of the Flies.

Then there is the public health care system.

Public hospitals in the country have long been a flashpoint -- one of the first pieces I ever wrote about the country was about the wreckage of this state medical care for the poor, as its doctors were first defunded and displaced by Cuba's "free" doctors, at the orders of Venezuela's socialist dictator. The Cuban doctors fled, and that starvation of funds has left the hospitals without the most basic of supplies and funding. Combine it with the signature shortages of socialism, and supplies were almost impossible to get anyway. Reports now state that patients often have to buy their drugs in open air flea markets. Patients with heart attacks are told they won't make it. Patients who need diabetes drugs, cancer drugs, HIV drugs are out of luck. The cancer drugs in particular were mismanaged, patients were handed certain drugs without having any idea what kind of cancer they had, because the central planners neglected that detail, resulting in a lot of waste. 'Possums have been reported running around the women's wards in neo-natal units. It's also driven half of the country's doctors out of the country, 22,000, according to the local medical society's figures in the Miami Herald piece, and those well-trained doctors often go to the states where they must work as medical assistants and go through the long process of re-certifying, a significant hardship. Yet it's a better deal than working under central planning diktats which leave public hospitals deprived of resources and at the mercy of gang members.

Then there is the corruption.

Secretive central planning with zero accountability in a monopoly that can't be gotten rid of has opened the gates wide to corruption of the worst kind, the kind that takes money meant for the poor at public hospitals and lines gangsterly government pockets instead. Venezuela has fallen to rock bottom in world corruption ratings, as I wrote here, which is why the currency has collapsed, the inflation has hit four digits and price and currency controls have created shortages. There simply isn't enough left to steal because it's all been already stolen.

It all adds up neatly to the single problem of socialism, which has spiraled down to doctors working under death threats in inhuman conditions to practice their healing trade. It's repulsive. And the only solution now in the absence of regime change is to flee - which is a growing realization now.

Where is the incisive reporter who can ask Bernie Sanders or any other supporter of socialism about this helliish situation? Why hasn't Michael Moore and all the other Hollywood Venezuela lovers been held to account? This is socialism done by experts, and the result is horrific.

If you experience technical problems, please write to