The separation of medicine and state
By Richard E. Ralston
The federal government in general, and the Food and Drug Administration in particular, increasingly inject themselves into direct control of every medical practice. The FDA is aggressively moving past its lock on the approval of every medication and all medical equipment. It now seeks control of every procedure and treatment that your physician recommends.
The FDA issued a warning (i.e., threat) about the use of venal catheters as a result of a physician conducting a clinical trial for treatment of multiple sclerosis. After approving the safety and efficacy of the device, the FDA now demands that it approve every use by individual physicians.
The FDA sued a physician for leading-edge orthopedic treatment of joints that utilizes the patient's own stem cells, which are removed, cultivated and injected back into the patient's body. The FDA says that stem cells produced by your body are a chemical that it has the power to regulate. Your physician may not use them without FDA approval.
Is this really about the safety and efficacy of drugs--or a ferocious act by a massive and distant bureaucracy to protect its power and its territory?
There is no reference to federal control over such medical questions in the Constitution. The Founders probably did not even consider government control of medicine a possibility--apart from their general concern about the ever-present threat of the Leviathan. They certainly understood and discussed the possibility of politicians bribing the public with their own money. They feared that would ruin the country and lead to dictatorship.
Government-run medical care leads to government control over our decisions about our care--and, effectively, government ownership of our bodies.
"Free" government health care is a false promise and a poor excuse to abandon constitutional government and the freedom of citizens to make their own decisions.
The lack of a constitutional basis for government involvement in medicine is a fact that politicians contemptuously disregard. But the Constitution provides no role for the federal government in education either. Perhaps the founders realized that control of education implies control of what is taught, of which ideas are permitted in school, of what is "politically correct," of what is truth.
Politicians who seize control of medical care circumvent the Constitution with the claim that our every breath and every action we take--or decide not to take- -are acts of "interstate commerce" subject to political control. In such an environment, education ceases to serve the interest of students and parents and is subjugated to the political interests of politicians and their clients in public employee unions. And we can now observe a similar transformation in medicine.
Given the inability of Congress to manage even itself, and its spectacular inability to control spending on anything, we dare not trust it or the FDA to control the details of our medical care. We must throw the government out of our hospitals and physicians' offices as forcefully as we would throw it out of our churches.
Richard E. Ralston is the executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Newport Beach, California. Copyright © 2012 Americans for Free Choice in Medicine. All rights reserved.