The voters thought they had spoken. First in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections—then again in the Massachusetts Senate race. When Scott Brown ran as the forty-first vote against government-run health care -- and won -- sixty one percent of the nation breathed a sigh of relief --according to a Rasmussen poll on February 11, 2010.
Game over? Not even close. Even if voters stop Washington’s current push toward universal health care, the battle for government-run medicine is far from over. The real future of American health care lies in the minds of our medical students. Under the cloak of compassion, a culture that believes government-run medicine defines quality care now permeates U.S. medical schools.
Progressives know they don’t have to win the current legislative battles in Washington. The key is to capture the American university… and wait. As medical students are taught to embrace the concept of government-run health care, the tipping point will inevitably come. With a new breed of physician to lead the charge, the rest will fall into place.
My wife and I are both medical students. Our institution makes no attempt to hide its bias in classroom instruction. From the first day of student orientation we are taught America’s current health care system is faulty because we spend more than any other country on health care yet our infant mortality rates lag behind other nations. However, there is no discussion of the data. Different countries use different definitions of a “live birth” -- making a direct comparison between countries impossible.
We are constantly told that American health care does not provide for all and that “universal health care” will solve these problems without any downside. However, we never hear that in America, 90.1% of women diagnosed with breast cancer are still alive five years later—but only 79% of their European counterparts survive this long. (That's according to Lancet Oncology from September 2007.)
We repeatedly hear that Canadians live longer than Americans. However, we are never told that when the data is adjusted for motor vehicle accidents and homicide, the United States leads the world in longevity. Shouldn’t this statistic be taught as well?
The excellence of the American system produces the majority of medical innovations. But this goes unmentioned. Instead we receive lectures entitled, “What America Can Learn From the Canadian Medical System,” “Universal Health Care,” and “Health Care Reform.” Typical bullet points in these lectures compare spending on AIDS in foreign countries versus spending on the Iraq war, as if they were direct substitutes. Is this academic freedom? Or is this viewpoint discrimination?
Explanations to the “correct” answers on test questions also contain liberal thought. Our medical school gave the left-leaning organization -- Physicians for Human Rights -- an official school e-mail address that enables them to send letters asking us to lobby our congressional representatives for liberal health care policies. Patient-centered organizations such as Physicians for Reform are never invited to present an alternative viewpoint.
We were recently asked to watch and review Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko.” What was missing? The assignment of a movie that lays out the opposing point of view.
Medical school curricula should include material on delivery of health care and provide honest viewpoints from both sides using the best data available. I can count numerous examples of the school providing a liberal perspective, but cannot cite one single example where a more conservative position was offered. This steady drumbeat of the progressive worldview is reshaping the minds of America’s future physicians. Ironically, as medical students, we are taught to hold the patient’s best interest in the highest regard. Yet, at the same time, we are taught that more government intervention between the physician and the patient is desirable. Unfortunately, history teaches us the two are often incompatible.
The assault on the time honored patient-physician relationship is happening on many fronts. But the unseen battle within the medical school classroom might be the most important of them all. Will the physicians of tomorrow even recognize the Hippocratic Oath and continue to serve the well-being of the individual patient? Or will our healers become pawns of a government-run health care system and ultimately become servants of the State?
Nationalized health care has long been the Holy Grail for the secular progressive. To reach this end, the left is now doing a textbook end-around of the American voter to achieve this prize. What is happening in the medical school classroom might render what happens in Washington meaningless, no matter how We the People vote.
Tom & Coral Tieu are medical students. C. L. Gray, M.D. is president of Physicians for Reform.
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