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  • An Expert Weighs In

    Posted by James R. Rummel on May 3rd, 2005 (All posts by )

    In this post I talked about how universal health care, though popular, was probably doomed to failure. One of people who left a comment was Kevin Fleming, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic. I thought the comment deserved its own post:

    The problem with your arguments is they make too much sense. You are pointing out a law of scarcity and competing interests that is as unalterable as the law of gravity.

    However, 30 years of foucauldian postmodern critique has led to arguments that either ignore such laws or deride them as evil. As a physician interested in economics, I noticed that the paper in JAMA ushering in the latest proposal for a government-run national health care program elicited not a single critique of its basic paradigm, one that had already been proven false.

    That is, despite the fact that the socializm has failed repeatedly throughout the 20th century, not one editor (or reader for that matter) challenged their assumptions. My attempts to rebut this in their journal (and subsequently seven other major journals) were soundly rejected. Pointed criticisms of my papers included the idea that they were “ideologic” (Hayek apparently being an ideology), despite the fact that any plan advocating a social-ist scheme is by nature ideologic as well.

    If I were to post my writings here, your readers would probably laugh at their economic simplicity. But doctors are very often terrible at economics, and the leftist infection afflicting major universities has not escaped academic medicine. Plainly stated, the academic medical establishment does not want to hear objections, because they are, tautologically, right.

    Rejecting any and all such criticism is, in the world of medicine, similar to proposing a new cure-all drug that has no side-effects, but failing to produce any evidence that it worked. Such a paper would never get published. Faux economics is different, because, as I stated, doctors know as much about economics as they do about farming.

    [snip]

    Megan McArdle once observed that university professors assumed that they were experts in all subjects since they managed to master one. It’s unfortunate that most physicians seem to have the same failing.

     

    9 Responses to “An Expert Weighs In”

    1. -keith in mtn. view Says:

      For an example of a national health care system at its most horrendously consumptive, check out Free Market Fairy Tales British statistic: The National Health Service is the 3rd largest employer in the World, after the Chinese Army & the Indian Railways… I’ve been around the Indian Railways many times, and it’s a guaranteed economic and productivity sink-hole…

    2. Mark Olson Says:

      Just to pick nits, wasn’t it Socrates who pointed out people having mastered one profession *think* they have mastered all. Just a few scant years ahead of Ms McArdle. But then again he wasn’t a blogger. :-)

    3. James R. Rummel Says:

      Just to pick nits, wasn’t it Socrates who pointed out people having mastered one profession *think* they have mastered all.

      If he did, then he probably wasn’t referring to university professors.

      James

    4. Sandy P Says:

      This little uneducated SAHM has a separate WP file w/articles from anglosphere newspapers on how well their NHS systems are doing.

      I have a separate subfile for Canuckistan.

      May I suggest you begin perusing The Fraser Institute in Canada, Dr. Fleming???

      IIRC, Iain Murray of The Edge of England’s Sword once wrote, The British are known for their bad teeth, they’ve also had socialized medicine for 60 years.

    5. Kevin Fleming Says:

      I was roundly criticized for using the Fraser Institute as a source in one of the papers I submitted. “Ideological bias” and “right wing think tanks” were phrases I recall being said about them.

      For medical literature, it seems, quoting proponents of the free market is anathema, but market critics are required citations.

    6. Sandy P Says:

      Considering that a Canadian RW is equivalent to a US democrat, what exactly were they trying to say?

      John Derbyshire was right, “Wherever there is a jackboot stomping on a human face, there will be a well-heeled Western liberal to explain that the face does, after all, have national health care and 100% literacy.”

    7. aaron Says:

      Kevin, do they have advertisements in the journals your wrote?

    8. chris Edwards Says:

      Did the last Tory government not research this at great depth and come to the conclusion that the NHS is terminally sick and more money is likely to make it worse? To me it is like trying to do a motorway trip with your family in an Austin 7, you can spend what you like but it is not up to the task!
      If we keep this B.liar government then the NHS is doomed to consume more money and achieve less. My local hospital now makes appointment to make an appointment so you are not officially waiting to see them????

    9. Sandy P Says:

      And Dr.?

      When talking w/people about NHC, just remind them that the British, Ozzies, Kiwis and Canucks all have papers in English, they are socialist and have NHC. You really want to torque them, ask them if the US didn’t subsidize these socialistic countries militarily and prescription drug-wise, would they be able to provide what they provide?

      You can also point out the frogs were pouring in 15 billion to make sure their HC isn’t as bad as Britain’s, which was pouring in about 5-6 billion, Scotland’s pouring in 2 billion, the Ozzies and Kiwis are also upping their portion and the Canucks are pouring in 41 billion loonies over the next 10 years.

      Ask them to remind you how much they spend on their military again? How many bases do we have in these countries?

      And if they have a computer and net, they can read it for themselves. You’re just a messenger.