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P&S Journal

P&S Journal: Spring 1994, Vol.14, No.2
Health Care Reform: Responses and Proposed Alternatives
Plan is a 'Large Down Payment on Socialism'

Your request for comments on the proposed health plans could lead to a several page dissertation from me, but you asked that it be kept brief. The briefest quote that seems appropriate is from Thomas Sowell's article in Forbes of Jan. 17, 1994, in which he says, "The Clinton administration's health care plan is a large down payment on socialism with future installments certain to be larger than advertised, whether measured in money or in lost freedom to make our own decisions about medical care that are literally questions of life and death."
That same conclusion must be reached about the Cooper Bill and the single payor plan recently endorsed by the American College of Surgeons, to my dismay as a surgeon. The organizations of medicine all seem to be bowing to the concept that some sort of government control of medicine is necessary to correct the deficiencies that exist in medical care accessibility. This shifts the responsibility from those intimately involved to third parties which are unlikely to be disinterested. The socialist ideals have been so discredited by their results in other countries that the blindness on the part of those idealists in this country remain dismaying to me. Putting responsibility back on the patient to select his level of health care and how his health care dollar is to be spent seems to me to be best approached the "Medi-Saver" or "Medical IRA" scheme which has received some enthusiasm, but is being superseded by the collectivist approach. This approach will undoubtedly destroy the private practice of medicine, the quality of medical care, and the economy of the country. A hard lesson apparently can only be learned the hard way. Accordingly, I am pleased to be the age I am, but displeased in contemplating the fact that I will ultimately be a patient under such a system.

Neil C. Clements'56
Tucson, Ariz.

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