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Tearing Apart our Social Fabric, Thread by Thread

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April 27th, 2020

By Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD

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It seems like some folks have used the ghost of Ernesto “Ché” Guevara as their guide through the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States. “To send men to the firing squad [job loss, suicide, substance abuse], judicial [scientific] proof is unnecessary… This is a revolution! And a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate [of President Trump].”

Apparently, Ché was on to something. Forty-three percent of U.S. adults and 52 percent of low income adults say they or someone in their household has lost a job or taken a pay cut due to the outbreak. How can any American stuck at home not be disgusted by politicians who are still collecting their full paychecks while the middle class and working poor descend into an abyss. To be fair, Michigan’s governor announced that she would take a 10 percent pay cut in solidarity with the people who had a 100 percent pay cut. Nonetheless, many have unquestionably accepted the government’s oft times contradictory mandates.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that despite the disruption of their lives 80 percent of Americans say strict shelter-in-place measures are worth it to protect people. This blind acquiescence is evidenced by unthinking people wearing masks while driving alone in their cars with closed windows. And perversely, designer face masks are proliferating. Wearing a mask is a sometimes necessary, serious, unpleasant thing to do. It is not fun. It is not cute.

It is not only the evil Chinese Communists that caused panic about the coronavirus in the U.S. via text messages falsely saying President Trump was imminently going to lock down the entire country. The media are complicit in the hysteria. Again, Ché Guevara had it right: “Foreign reporters—preferably American—were much more valuable to us at that time than any military victory. Much more valuable than recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda.” Media hacks are collecting their paychecks to scare our bodily fluids out of us with day in, day out, COVID, COVID, COVID. We’re all going to die! (Of course, they don’t discuss the 1,300 people a day who die of complications of high blood pressure.)

COVID-19’s angel of death spares most people: 80 percent of COVID-19 deaths occurred among persons aged 60 years and over; about 25 percent of all deaths were sick and elderly residents of long term care facilities; nearly 90 percent of persons hospitalized have one or more underlying medical conditions. Oddly, the CDC is boosting the official death toll by including not only people who died due to COVID-19 but those who died of other causes and had the virus that causes COVID-19 in their system.

Antibody testing studies in Santa Clara and Los Angeles (California) and Miami Dade (Florida) counties revealed that infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is more widespread than indicated by the number of confirmed cases. The mortality is likely 0.1 percent (like the seasonal flu). Many researchers concluded that the data indicated that the virus is widely circulating, we will get infected but likely not die, and the population may develop immunity. The tyrants-in-waiting use the data to mandate lock downs until every last vestige of COVID-19 has disappeared from the face of the earth or a vaccine materializes—which may be never.

Americans have been terrified into accepting tyranny and poverty, softened with assurances that the current state of affairs is “normal.” The airwaves’ constant blare of “we’re all in this together” does not make it so. Some people remain more equal than others. Just ask Nancy Pelosi with her $24,000 refrigerator filled with $13 a pint ice cream that she “gets by” on. Or professional athletes who received their elective surgeries while the rest of the peasants were denied their cancer treatment or the treatment of a painful joint. Or the TV star who complained about being “in jail” in her $45 million home.

Meanwhile, liquor sales are up 55 percent, calls to suicide hotlines and suicides have dramatically increased, domestic violence is rising, and anti-anxiety medication prescriptions are up 34 percent since the virus consumed our lives. We are on the path to becoming fat, depressed, drunken wife-beaters. We are told to ignore statistics because every death is tragic. If the lockdowns persist, every life is a tragedy in the making.

This epidemic has become the opportunity to change the U.S. from a free, energetic, resourceful individualistic society to an authoritarian, collectivist society of broken souls addicted to government largesse. To wit, a Los Angeles version of wealth redistribution: People can’t work so they can’t pay their rent. The mom and pop landlords can’t pay their property taxes. The city then buys the “distressed” properties from desperate landlords at cut-rate prices and turns them over to the homeless. Ché would be proud.

 

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Bio: Dr. Singleton is a board-certified anesthesiologist. She is the immediate past President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). She graduated from Stanford and earned her MD at UCSF Medical School. Dr. Singleton completed 2 years of Surgery residency at UCSF, then her Anesthesia residency at Harvard’s Beth Israel Hospital. While still working in the operating room, she attended UC Berkeley Law School, focusing on constitutional law and administrative law. She interned at the National Health Law Project and practiced insurance and health law. She teaches classes in the recognition of elder abuse and constitutional law for non-lawyers. She lives in Oakland, Ca.

Thought Police (Oops, Medicare) For All

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by Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD

Preview:  

  • The new Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384) has come and hopefully will go the way of the pet rock.
  • But as usual, bills contain hidden gems
  • The focus on palliative care and lowering costs by reducing “aggressive” end-of-life treatment is one more incremental under-the-radar step along the road to government control over life and death. A culture of hastening death has gradually evolved, disguised as “death with dignity.”
  • Subtly devaluing life primes the pump for rationing of medical care at all stages by a government-run program that is the exclusive purveyor of medical “benefits.”
  • This year, legislators were not so subtle. It is bad enough that our elderly are pushed into hospice, but now the compassionate legislators have set their sights on newborns. New York passed, and Virginia floated laws that permit the killing of babies after birth.
  • Starting in the 1970s, the federal government clearly saw a need to protect medical personnel from the tyranny of the government mandates that could violate religious or moral convictions.
  • We must not let the government bury our conscience and beliefs under layers of bureaucracy. Medicare for All may mean independent thought for none.

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The new Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384) has come and hopefully will go the way of the pet rock. Everybody now knows the basics: the government will take care of all medical, dental, vision, pharmacy, and long-term care services with no out-of-pocket expenses. The bill prohibits parallel private insurance, and has the glaring absence of a financing mechanism.

But as usual, bills contain hidden gems. Section 104 of the bill tracks the Affordable Care Act’s “anti-discrimination” rule, making it clear that no person can be denied benefits, specifically including abortion and treatment of gender identity issues “by any participating provider.” The bill does not correspondingly reaffirm the federal laws protecting conscience and First Amendment religious freedom rights of medical personnel. Such protections relate to participation in abortion, sterilization, assisted suicide, and other ethical dilemmas.

Most sane individuals agree that we do not want our government to control any aspect of our individual lives—particularly not our religious beliefs and moral codes. When the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sought to clarify such conscience protections, thousands of commenters offered evidence of discrimination and coercion to violate the tenets of the Oath of Hippocrates and their own ethics. Some left their jobs or left the medical profession entirely when their conscientious objections were not honored. More

Obamacare: Sold to the Highest Bidder

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new-logo25By  Dr. Marilyn Singleton,

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The Affordable Care Act is like the television show Storage Wars, where unclaimed items in storage lockers are auctioned off after a quick peek through the door. People bid top dollar and hope for the best. Some find a goldmine, but the unseasoned bidders usually receive a Pandora’s Box.

Let’s look at some of the winners. The Center for Public Policy, a non-partisan public interest think tank in Washington D.C., estimated that $120 million was spent lobbying for health reform. Pharmaceutical Researchers and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) alone spent $26 million lobbying for Obamacare in 2009. And PhRMA has spent well over $100 million on ad campaigns promoting healthcare reform legislation.

Upon passage of the bill, the stocks of some of the largest health insurers, including Cigna, UnitedHealth Group,WellPoint,and Aetna climbed. Major makers of electronic health records (EHR) systems lobbied hard, locking out smaller competitors. Chicago-based Allscripts Healthcare Solutions former CEO Glen Tullman, who had served as health technology adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2008, made more than $200,000 in contributions to the campaign, and was frequent guest at the White House during 2009. With some nudging from the Stimulus mandate for EHRs, annual sales of Allscripts more than doubled from $548 million in 2009 to $1.44 billion in 2012. Cerner, another software purveyor, spent $400,000 lobbying for EHR. During the same three-year period, sales rose 60 percent.

Of course, AARP’s CEO, Barry Rand, wrote that the ACA was “vital” for the nation’s seniors. This makes no sense when the ACA in fact cut a half a trillion dollars from the popular Medicare Advantage program. It seems the ACA’s passage was vital to AARP’s insurance Medi-gap insurance products – which people with Medicare Advantage do not need. More

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