Animation – How Government Solved the Health Care Crisis

The following animation was made by Tomasz Kaye. Consider donating to his Patreon account here. Message from the author: Roderick T. Long’s essay, on which it’s based, tells a story very few know. I appreciate its challenge to the idea that government is the protector of the poor, guardian of their well-being. One of my motivations for making an animated adaptation of this narrative was that since making Edgar the Exploiter – in one respect a defence of the ‘greedy capitalist’ – I was looking forward to illustrating an example of how a historically greater measure of liberty enabled the working class to empower themselves and help one another. Roderick kindly gave his blessing to the project by email before I began in earnest. I very much hope he enjoys the result. Scroll down for a few remarks about the process of making it and what’s next. The team My biggest thanks to my patient Patrons and to the Moving Picture Institute who jointly funded the project. Working with @stephaniemurphy providing the narration (http://www.smvoice.info/) was great. We scheduled a Skype appointment for the recording day so that I could listen in remotely and give direction while she did the takes. While she was recording it became clear that there were some small problems in the script that (despite the many revisions) hadn’t been apparent before. Stephanie gave some great suggestions for fixes that made it into the final recording. Her personal knowledge about, and involvement with mutual aid was apt and helpful. Matthew Zipkin provided music and sound effects. As ever his versatility and turnaround speed were so helpful. Time tracking Checking the creation date of the script document I can see it’s been in production for about one and a half years. Though much of that duration was part-time …

How to Fight Back Against Hidden Regulations That Threaten Your Health

“In the 1960s, just before these regulations were passed, we were on the verge of a golden age of health,” said Dr. Mary Ruwart, at the 2015 World Conference on Market Liberalization in Bali about the topic, “How to Fight Back Against Hidden Regulations That Threaten Your Health”. “In 1962, this golden age of health was thwarted,” said Dr. Mary Ruwart. She explained that this was because of the Kefauver-Harris Amendments that were passed because of the thalidomide tragedy. Mary explained that these new regulations gave the FDA unprecedented power over the drug industry. Half of the drug companies were put out of business because of the regulatory burden. “The FDA came in and said, ‘We don’t like the way you’re doing manufacturing,’ and they didn’t really give them quite enough time to make the adjustment,” said Dr. Ruwart. Dr. Ruwart explained that as regulations increased over the decades, the amount of time to take a drug from the lab to market also increased. “If you have a terminal disease, you’re going to die waiting for this extra ten years that’s been added on,” said Dr. Ruwart. Costs also rose dramatically, drug delays continued, and 4.7 million people lost their lives due to drug development delays, said Dr Ruwart. However, there is a way to fight back, said Dr. Ruwart, and it involves staying healthy, eating right, and other measures. Watch the full video below:

Dr. Mary Ruwart on Johnny Rocket Launch Pad

Dr. Mary J. Ruwart starred on the Johnny Rocket Launch Pad Show, a nationally syndicated libertarian radio show and podcast. Mary talked about the Food and Drug Administration , and the Non-Aggression Principle (NAP), government regulation and libertarian communication. “Libertarians are all about the market. The market of ideas, and testing them in the market, and the ones that fail, fail. And the ones that succeed do wonderful things, and I think that’s how our movement is going to be,” said Dr. Mary Ruwart. On politics, Dr. Ruwart said, “We aren’t so good at electing people, because the system’s rigged against us.” Mary said that there are alternatives to advancing liberty besides using politics. “I’ve watched time and time again as people try to get enthused about winning, and actually think they’re going to win, but the system is rigged against us. And so, we need these other ways.” When asked about celebrity politicians like John McAfee, Gary Johnson, and Austen Petersen, Dr. Ruwart said, “Our candidate will probably get about the same amount of publicity no matter who we have . . . I think there’s really a media prejudice against the libertarian philosophy.” Mary said that instead, libertarians should focus on their message, “Our message hasn’t been very consistent the last couple presidential elections.” Mary said that she has met many candidates who do not understand the non-aggression principle, “and that’s scary.” Dr. Ruwart also talked about healthcare, “Healthcare is so expensive because of government regulations. It’s easiest to see in the pharmaceutical industry because it’s regulated nationally.” Dr. Ruwart is currently writing a book called “Death by Regulation: How We Were Robbed of Our Golden Age of Health, and How We Can Reclaim it”. In the book, Dr. Ruwart writes about the FDA’s rise to power in 1962, and how it reshaped …

How Does Healthcare Reform Impact Liberty in Chile?

For more than three decades Chile has had a dual healthcare system consisting of both state-run and private health services, which has provided more Chileans with greater choice and better access to such services. Initially funded by way of a 4 percent tax on income, by the late nineties the public Fondo Nacional de Salud (FONASA) started running deficits as one in four Chileans opted for private insurance instead. Consequently the obligatory contribution was raised to 7 percent, helping force a significant chunk of people back into the old system. Unfortunately government meddling did not stop there. In 2005 a fresh round of regulations listed 56 priority health problems that all insurers must cover. Unsurprisingly, premiums spiked across the board that year as well as the following years. Unfazed, the first Bachelet administration expanded the list to cover a total of 80 medical conditions. The result is as predictable as it is inevitable, and the unfortunate thing is it usually leads to more demonization of the market and increased calls for more heavy-handed government intervention. Considering the aforementioned developments it seems as though that process is already playing out. Needless to say, the selfless crusaders for more equity – be it in healthcare or whatever other area of life – make no mention of inflation, currently estimated at 4.5 percent, that is stealthily yet ceaselessly robbing all Chileans of their purchasing power. Nor is there any mention of the fact that patent laws are artificially propping up drug prices, or that compulsory medical licensing is keeping competition out of the market. Experiences with “free” state-run healthcare and the resulting long waiting lines and other unintended consequences such as in Canada and the UK are equally overlooked if not purposely left out of the debate. To point the finger to the …

Ebola Tsunami in Sierra Leone: It doesn’t get any worse than this.

Meet Mustapha Cole of Sierra Leone. Four members of his family have just died of Ebola in the last couple weeks–his aunts, sister, and uncle. He buried three on October 5 and his uncle passed away just yesterday. His father, a sister, and one other relative remain with him in a small house that is short of food—very short of food. Everyone stays indoors as much as possible to avoid contact with others who may carry the Ebola virus—yet the pangs of hunger keep driving people to find nourishment that can make them strong enough to withstand illness. One family of 8 ventured from their home in desperation, but the food they found was spoiled and all of them died of poisoning. Mustapha is now living in a village of 20,000 people who are in a panic because 100 die every day. It isn’t just Ebola, but now people are increasingly vulnerable to malaria and cholera as well. The dead have been left in homes for three or four days so far—people are too afraid to touch them. This morning Mustapha found the body of Ibrahim, a truck pusher who earned $5 a day. He had been suffering for days from what he thought were cold symptoms and went to the hospital to be checked. He didn’t have enough money for treatment, but even if he did the remaining hospital staff were too afraid of Ebola to examine him. So many doctors and nurses have died that there are few left to look after the sick. Mustapha reports that the government has lost all credibility. The government stopped paying the staff so they went on strike. “People are dying like flies in the country. Many citizens lost all hope and trust. They are afraid to go to the hospitals. They …

Brazil’s Most Controversial Government Program

A common characteristic of developing nations is the high rate of urbanization and subsequent disparate development between regions. Brazil being no exception to this rule, the effect is quite far-reaching in the healthcare industry. More than 90 percent of medical professionals are concentrated in areas that cover less than 10 percent of the country. A program launched by the federal government in 2011 to address this problem failed to attract but one third of the required number of doctors to address this problem. Consequently, it was replaced with a new program: Mais Médicos (more doctors). Overseen by the World Health Organization, this three-year program aims to alleviate the unequal geographical distribution of healthcare professionals by bringing them in from abroad. Fifteen thousand doctors from Cuba, Portugal, Argentina, and Spain were to work in these remote areas. Yet while government initiatives with such laudable goals generally tend to garner plenty of popular support among Brazilians, Mais Médicos has been shrouded in controversy from its inception. Industry representatives, students and the Ministry of Labor have taken aim at the program, A conservative magazine even went so far as to accuse Cuban doctors of being “communist spies” infiltrating the country. In a mere 12 months (Mais Médicos went into effect in July 2013) the program has become arguably the most controversial one implemented by the Dilma administration. While the Cuban healthcare system has a relatively good reputation the fact that a significant chunk of Brazilian tax money directly funds the communist Cuban state makes some feel quite uncomfortable. The Brazilian Medical Association and the Federal Council of Medicine have been encouraging healthcare professionals to voice their opposition in the form of protests and strikes. They even went to the Supreme Court last August in an attempt to roll back the program, stating foreign …

Constitutionally Protected Corporatism

The seventh and current Brazilian Constitution dates back to 1988, when it was written from scratch by a Constitutional Congress elected two years earlier. It contains a whopping 250 articles making it about as thick as the Bible. As its length might indicate it was not exactly written in the traditional sense, for the purpose of outlining what government can and cannot do to ensure the rights of the people. Drafted after a period of military dictatorship with a constitution that severely restricted the rights of the people while expanding government power, the current one is also known as the Citizen Constitution. Did the Constitutional Congress in the late eighties feel the need to allay people’s fear of having their rights stripped away anew? Perhaps, but entrusting the very same institution that trampled all over the rights of the people with a litany of new powers does not seem to make logical sense. Couple this flawed logic with collectivist egalitarian rhetoric and what results is not exactly a recipe for freedom. Many classical liberals and libertarians understand the inherent contradiction in constitutionally protecting positive rights; that protecting someone’s “right” to force a doctor to provide healthcare services inevitably ends up violating the doctor’s rights. Yet much less thought seems to be given to the practical implications, not to mention how it warps the general perceptions of capitalism. Whether one calls it corporatism, crony capitalism, or state capitalism, it certainly is anything but capitalism. Yet it is written right into the “law of the land” and few seem to take notice. The constitutionally guaranteed “right to healthcare” apparently includes – among other things – free drugs for those suffering from hypertension, diabetes and asthma, as can be seen advertised in and around pharmacies here. While perhaps seemingly laudable at first glance, …