Charles W. Johnson of San Antonio, Texas, is a man of medicine also deeply involved in a study of the nature of man. He has publicly advocated non-participation by physicians in the government medicare program. His article, Non-Participation, was featured in the Spring, 1967 Rampart Journal. Dr. Johnson is a trustee of Rampart College, and has participated in several courses at the college.
The following article first appeared in GP Pres, January, 1968.
Since paleolithic times, the profession of healing has prospered. The fact that until the past century or two hardly anyone ever healed anybody has been irrelevant to its success. Our professional brethren, the shamans and witch doctors, have always held the highest status in their communities. While they handled the fear and faith department, the tribal chiefs handled the axes and chains, and together they maintained effective control over their fellow men. (¶ 1)
Of late a credibility gap has developed about demonology, and we have been forced from our privileged parasitism. Left to our own resources we switched from mysticism to reason and from sorcery to science--and prospered. (¶ 2)
Yet our tendency to make unholy alliances with spirits, demons, and politicians lingers on. We continue to ask our political chiefs to let us use their weapons on others and to grant us special privileges. We are empowered in various ways to limit our members and restrain our competitors--to protect our patients from them. We force health and safety on the public, not only when people are dangerous to others, but also when they are dangerous only to themselves. We have laws which we promoted which take money from one man to give to another man's doctor, if his doctor wants to take it. (¶ 3)
Physicians no longer need political protection for themselves. Our services are now of real value and are marketable without coercion. The only protection patients want is reliable information. The protection available from politicians is neglible compared to the protection offered by our voluntary medical organizations and by individual physicians seeking their own long-range self-interest in a free market. (¶ 4)
The newest attack for which we are the destined victim is the
crisis in medicine: the shortage of physicians, escalating hospital costs, and
greediness at the medicare and medicaid troughs. The proposed solutions involve various sorts of retaliatory violence against physicians, hospitals, taxpayers, and patients. (¶ 5)
A free market has none of these problems. These problems are all the creations of political force. there are no shortages in the free market--demand promptly creates the supply. Competition produces the lowest costs, highest quality, and widest distribution--including the poor. (¶ 6)
People are seldom so fortunate as to be forced into freedom as were the shamans and witch doctors. Usually people join the free market individually, one by one: each asserting his own rights and renouncing violation of the rights of others; remembering that government is an agency of force, that violence begets violence, and that freedom begets freedom. (¶ 7)
Come, join the free market, where men trade peaceably and everyone profits except thieves and politicians! (¶ 8)
It is not surprising that we are accused, usually unjustly, of using our special privileges to exploit the public. Legislative retaliation is to be expected against us, and so we find ourselves wasting time, energy, and money in contests for powers we do not need and should not have. Our efforts would be better allocated to our defense of medical fredom from a morally unassailable base. (¶ 9)