• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Benjamin Rush Society Debate: Is More Government the Right Rx?

    Last week the Columbia University chapter of the newly formed Benjamin Rush Society –a group of medical students and doctors who believe in the freedom to practice medicine without government interference and the freedom for patients to access the health care of their own choosing–hosted a debate on the federal government’s role in health care. An audience of almost 200 people consisting of mostly Columbia medical students and faculty attended the event. Two debaters argued that universal health care should be the responsibility of the federal government and two argued against government sponsored universal health care. Each side consisted of one physician and one non physician.

    Dr. Day, a practicing Orthopedic Surgeon in Canada and past President of the Canadian Medical Association, spoke about his personal experience with Canada’s socialized health care system. Initially the system worked pretty well, but in the late 1980’s as demand for new and expensive technologies increased costs skyrocketed and the government responded by restricting supply—that is, rationing. Dr. Day saw his time in the operating room decrease from 22 hours per week to only five hours per week. He had up to 450 patients on his waiting list at any given time and his patients would wait up to three years to be treated. Although, today Dr. Day jokes that socialized medicine isn’t all bad as “Canada is now a world leader in peer reviewed research on wait lists.”

    In her remarks, Sally Pipes, President of the Pacific Research Institute and author of The Top Ten Myths of American Health Care: A Citizen’s Guide, cited a recent poll in which 82% of Americans were satisfied with their health insurance. While the problems with health care may not be as bad as some would like us to believe, there is certainly room for improvement. She argued that markets and competition can bring about coverage and choice for all. One solution would involve creating a real national market for health insurance where patients could buy policies tailored to their individual needs and preferences without being forced by states to purchase unnecessarily expensive coverage that includes mandated benefits which they would not otherwise chose.

    While the audience started the night largely in support of government involvement, those opposed to government sponsored universal health care left the debate enthused and energized to bring the message of the Benjamin Rush Society back to their respective institutions. I have already completed the paperwork to start a chapter at my medical school. Regardless of your ideological tendency the clear winner was the Benjamin Rush Society for fostering a great discussion on an important issue. Sadly all too often medical school curriculum highlights the liberal argument with regards to health care, failing to mention competing view points, let alone acknowledge that such view points even exist.

    To learn more about the Benjamin Rush Society visit the Pacific Research Institute website. For more on the debate, read John Graham’s blog.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Benjamin Rush Society Debate: Is More Government the Right Rx?

    1. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      No one likes third party payers practicing medicine. So why should folks accept medicine's liberal practitioners decide people's health coverage?

    2. HawkWatcher, Michiga says:

      A signer of the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Rush is a distant relative of mine. He was a Founder and a Patriot, and I have inherited his rebel nature, his love of freedom. In his spirit, I have been dedicating a good portion of my time lately to the causes of liberty.

      I am convinced that Benjamin and his fellow Founders would be horrified by todays bass-ackward America. They would chastise us soundly, and insist that we have failed to protect the Constitution. They would have us rid Washington of those who steal our freedom and our earnings, and elect those who would follow our laws properly while truly representing us.

      We must return to a Constitutionally limited, balanced federal government, one which has little or no involvement in my health care arrangements. I now hear the bastards want to tax my copay employer health care. I'm sure that will stimulate the economy while Helping the Children, right?

      I'm glad to see the Society is sticking up for the right principles and spreading the debate. Fight on!

    3. Justin, UT says:

      Really, his 'rebel' nature eh? Way to try and pump up your own beliefs…that said, Rush was pretty quick to want to change the Constitution apparently:

      "In line with that, he advocated that the U.S. government require public schools to teach students using the Bible as a textbook, that the government furnish an American bible to every family at public expense and that "the following sentence be inscribed in letters of gold over the door of every State and Court house in the United States. The Son of Man Came into the World, Not To Destroy Men's Lives, But To Save Them." [18][19] He publicly advocated such government actions even after the ratification in 1791 of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ….."

    4. Black Eagle, Oregon says:

      You said: "Sadly all too often medical school curriculum highlights the liberal argument with regards to health care, failing to mention competing view points, let alone acknowledge that such view points even exist."

      Very true. This is because the goal of socialized medicine is not the stated reason, of "bettering health care", which is only a facade. The real reason is to empower government, and humble people before the tyranny of organized Big Medicine, Big Pharmacy, and Big Government. It is, at bottom, a power-play to rob us of our rights, to turn us from citizens into subjects.

    5. Mesa says:

      Rix Investigators is the culmination of concepts and strategies, whose roots date back to the mid-80's, when its founder began a career in the Private Investigation Industry. A time when, if you wanted to know where your target was going, you got in the van and followed him. Green light, red light, speeding or not. Pulled over by a cop or not. And if you lost him, he was gone. With today's technology, and GPS, and cell phones, and all the advantages that come with them, we can now follow more closely, zoom into every aspect of any escapade, and keep you informed.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.