While the Democrats are falling over themselves, rushing to the left, promising “free healthcare for everyone,” this is a terrifying story about what can happen when the government controls everyone’s medical care.
Yansnier Arias knew it was wrong. It violated the Constitution, not to mention the oath he took as a doctor in Cuba.
He had been sent to Venezuela by the Cuban government, one of thousands of doctors deployed to shore up ties between the two allies and alleviate Venezuela’s collapsing medical system.
But with President Nicolás Maduro’s re-election on the line, not everyone was allowed to be treated, Dr. Arias said.
A 65-year-old patient with heart failure entered his clinic — and urgently needed oxygen, he said. The tanks sat in another room at the ready, he recalled.
But he said his Cuban and Venezuelan superiors told him to use the oxygen as a political weapon instead: Not for medical emergencies that day, but to be doled out closer to the election, part of a national strategy to compel patients to vote for the government….
To maintain their hold over Venezuela, Mr. Maduro and his supporters have often used the nation’s economic collapse to their advantage, dangling food before hungry voters, promising extra subsidies if he won, and demanding that people present identification cards tied to government rations when they came to the polls.
But participants in the schemes say Mr. Maduro and his supporters have deployed another tool as well: Cuba’s international medical corps….
The Cuban doctors said they were ordered to go door-to-door in impoverished neighborhoods, offering medicine and warning residents that they would be cut off from medical services if they did not vote for Mr. Maduro or his candidates….
Many said their superiors directed them to issue the same threats during closed-door consultations with patients seeking treatment for chronic diseases.
One former Cuban supervisor said that she and other foreign medical workers were given counterfeit identification cards to vote in an election. Another doctor said she and others were told to give precise voting instructions to elderly patients, whose infirmities made them particularly easy to manipulate….
When the government controls healthcare, anonymous bureaucrats end up making our most personal and intimate decisions for us, and ultimately deciding who lives and who dies. The temptation to political favoritism and corruption is too great (we see what Obama did to the IRS and the FBI), although of course the oppression will be disguised as a glorious thing and there will be shining examples of Potemkin villages highlighted in the media. I’ll trust the marketplace, as erratic and unfair as it can be, to deliver the best healthcare at the best price over the long haul. Imperfect as the free market is, the socialized alternative is a suicide pact.