The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing -- Edmund Burke

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Medicare for Lawyers

Michael R. Bowen, MD

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Michael R. Bowen, MD

mbowen@americasvoices.org       
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"The harshest tyranny is that which acts under the protection of legality and the banner of justice."
-- Montesquieu (16891755), nobleman, French judge, highly-influential political thinker and ideological co-founder of the American Constitution with John Locke

August 19, 2003


Public defenders in Massachusetts went on strike this week, refusing to accept assignment of new cases.  Seems that the Bay State has a bad habit of falling behind in payments to the attorneys who accept assignment of public cases, and the lawyers have had enough.  And you can't blame them:  they are paid as little as $30 an hour for their services, a shocking sum in the legal world.  It's a miracle they have any public defenders at all.  Some of these lawyers are owed as much as $15,000.  And it's not the first time things have been this bad; according to the news report, the state commonly lets payments to public defenders slide.  So the lawyers got together and shut the system down.

This is the way Socialist republics like Massachusetts manage to provide "free" services:  when they don't stiff the providers, they shortchange them.  The only way a government can give away the services of its citizens is by not paying for them.

So to the Massachusetts lawyers, I have this to say:  How do you like it, boys and girls?

We physicians have been getting stiffed by government for decades.  The average Medicare doctor would love to have Medicare owe him as little as 15 grand; each of us is continually floating a no-interest loan to Uncle Sam to the tune of many tens of thousands of dollars.

When we get fed up, we can't do as the Massachusetts lawyers did, and organize.  Thanks to our friend Fortney "Pete" Stark, that is considered racketeering.  And for the privilege of continuing to receive late payment of pathetic fees for taking care of the sickest and most demanding class of patients, we must endure reams of paperwork and Byzantine, intrusive regulation.  And the punishment for failure to dot every i and cross every t is draconian.  Believe it or not, physician's offices have been raided at gunpoint at Medicare's behest.

So who gave us Medicare, with its shabby fees, dilatory payments, oppressive regulations, and complete lack of redress of grievance?  Lawyers.  It should come as no surprise that they won't tolerate what they impose on others.  Look at Congress:  a big gaggle of lawyers who have established a blue-ribbon health-care plan for themselves while demanding that the rest of us go to the back of the bus.

Here's my proposal:  let's establish legal "Medicare".  After all, a right to legal representation is far more firmly established in the Constitution than any right to medical care.  Government should provide it to the citizens free of cost.  Let's find out whether the lawyers like a taste of their own medicine.  My bet is that if we ever established such a system, it would die a quiet and natural death before the next session of Congress.

 

Copyright Copyright 2020 by Michael R. Bowen, MD & America's Voices, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Dr. Michael Bowen, a former Naval officer, has a private medical practice in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.  He writes the weekly column
"The Basics" and the occasional guest column "Mixed Reviews" for America's Voices, a conservative political opinion and educational web site.  His columns also appear in other popular Internet sites, including Opinionet.com and Enterstageright.com.  E-mail Dr. Bowen at mbowen@americasvoices.org.

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