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TUCSON, Ariz., June 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As the pressure mounts to enact Medicare for All, the president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) reviews the checkered history of the U.S. federal government’s involvement in medicine, in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.
“A new survey finds that Americans trust Amazon more than the federal government,” she writes. “Bureaucratic incompetence and cronyism are not the only
reasons we should be wary of government involvement in our medical care.” She summarizes numerous examples of dangerous or unethical medical judgments.
Tens of thousands of Americans were forcibly sterilized for eugenic reasons, a practice upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1927 case Buck v. Bell. Some patients were bullied into consenting with threats of having their welfare benefits or medical care taken away.
In the infamous Tuskegee study, which lasted for 40 years, 1932-1972, poor black sharecroppers were denied treatment for syphilis to observe the natural history of the disease.
Germ warfare tests were carried out by the U.S. Army between 1949 and 1969, which sprayed supposedly harmless bacteria in populated civilian areas. “One of my patients died from such an experiment,” Dr. Singleton writes.
An experimental measles vaccine was tested on 1,500 black and Hispanic babies in Los Angeles without informed consent. The study was stopped in 1991 after a significant number of babies in Africa and Haiti had died from the vaccine.
The Veterans Health Administration (VA), the current model of a government-sponsored single-payer health system, has for years “suffered a series of systemic and programmatic failures to consistently deliver timely and quality patient care,” according to a report by the VA’s inspector general.
“Given the government’s track record, even the most jaded bureaucrat cannot justify such betrayals of patients’ rights and the public trust,” Dr. Singleton concludes. “There is another theme between the lines: offer the people free stuff and then use it as a cudgel to keep the recipients in line. The helpless, the poor, and Native Americans were easy targets. Now ‘Medicare for All’ threatens to trap the rest of us in a system with no escape.”
The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.