In Praise of Individual Initiative & Ingenuity in Healthcare

Today, I would like to offer praise to a team of physicians, nurses, and staff who took care of my wife, Jan, while we were in New Orleans for her surgery. Two of those doctors initiated a new technique for restorative breast surgery after a mastectomy. Once they established their practice, they took further initiative to construct their own hospital, the St. Charles Surgical Hospital, connected to their Center for Restorative Breast Surgery. It is unique in the country.

The hospital is devoted to this specialized surgery. It has seventeen beds only, and the nurses give the kind of attention to patients that one can only dream of in a typical hospital. Throughout our stay, they exhibited professionalism, to be sure, but they went beyond that. They were kind and caring. One of the nurses who cared for Jan was a Christian who home schools her four children.

So my first purpose today is to give them the honor they deserve. But I have a second purpose as well. I want to emphasize how private initiative in healthcare can meet a need. These doctors had a vision, and they were able to make it a reality. What if all healthcare operated in the same manner? The kind of freedom to develop new techniques and then promote them is in danger of being destroyed.

Does anyone really think that government-controlled healthcare will lead to spectacular innovations? Already many doctors are threatening to close their practices with the implementation of Obamacare. Here’s another concern I have: Jan has now reached that magic decade where healthcare providers under a government system may decide to ration scarce resources. If Obamacare had been in operation when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, would she have received the best treatments or would those have been held in reserve for younger women? Some in the media made fun of Sarah Palin for referring to government death panels, but when the government holds the power of life or death over you by its determination that those resources shouldn’t be “wasted” on you, how inaccurate is it to call that a death panel?

Some may have conveniently forgotten that President Obama actually stated once that maybe your grandmother should be given a pill to ease pain rather than undergo a surgery that would take care of the real problem. With that unfeeling statement, he revealed his lack of concern for those whom the government deems “unworthy” of further care.

Now, with the Supreme Court declaring Obamacare constitutional, we are getting closer to that nightmare. The rationale for the Court’s decision—that it’s a tax—opens the door for anything being taxed. Anything?

The choice we make this November is huge. Will we continue on a path that leads to government-stifled healthcare or will we instead allow individual ingenuity to thrive? Will we have death panels or more centers and hospitals like the one in New Orleans? This is just one of the reasons why this election may be the most significant in our lifetime.