Argus — The National Health Scheme

The National Health Scheme

by Eric Butler

Melbourne Argus, February 26, 1949.

The Labor-Socialists’ new assault upon the medical profession is not merely designed to destroy the independence of the doctors and to make them servants of the State; it seeks to further the major Socialist objective of subordinating completely the policies of all individuals to a group of central planners.  People who allow themselves to be used, as the Labor-Socialists so blatantly suggest, to bring pressure to bear upon the doctors, and thus compel them to enter the Government’s National Health Service, will be merely forging the chains for their own enslavement.

It is unfortunate that far too little attention has been paid to the totalitarian features of the National Health Bill introduced by Senator McKenna on November 24 of last year.

This bill man yet prove to be one of the greatest tactical victories obtained by the Socialist monopolists—unless electors awake to the grave menace confronting them. The National Health Scheme is based upon the principle enunciated b0 Hitler: that people who will not submit to a complete totalitarian plan for society will not resist its gradual cumulative application.

This bill may yet prove to be one of the greatest tactical victories obtained by the Socialist monopolists — unless electors awake to the grave menace confronting them.  The National Health Scheme is based upon the principle enunciated by Hitler:  that people who will not submit to a complete totalitarian plan for society will not resist its gradual cumulative application.

The Social Service Power.

In examining the National Health Bill, it is essential to recall that it is based upon the constitutional power given to the Commonwealth as a result of the Social Services amendment to the Federal Constitution carried at the 1946 Referendum.  Although Mr. Menzies and other non-Socialists advocating a “Yes” vote on the Social Services amendment at that referendum apparently did not realise what they were doing, there is little doubt that the Socialist planners were looking well ahead and knew what they were about.

Every step taken to further the ever-growing process of government by regulations framed by officials, takes the community further towards complete totalitarianism.

This delegation of Parliamentary authority means that all matters connected with health can, without public debate in Parliament, be dealt with by the officials to whom the Minister for Health delegates his functions.  The National Health Scheme can thus be altered at will by mere regulations.

As the bill grants enormous powers to officials, even the power to manufacture, its inherent dangers are obvious.  Once the scheme is well established, the groundwork has been laid for further attacks upon the medical profession and the liberties of the individual.

It is hoped that electors will be bribed by the anticipation of a 50% reduction in their medical fees if the scheme operates; that they will overlook the fact that the Government will merely be using some of their taxes to finance the scheme.

If the Government overcomes the obstacles to the introduction of the National Health Scheme, it can already be seen what will happen then.  The next step will be to limit the work of individual doctors.  Senator McKenna has already announced that the Director-General of the scheme is to have the power to draw up lists of “specialists.”  It is then contemplated to limit the payment of fees by the Government for certain classes of work, to be progressively defined by regulations, to certain “approved” doctors.  This would gradually narrow the field for general practice.

A Further Step.

A further step in the same direction could be taken by the mere formulating of a regulation deciding to pay, say, 80% of the scheduled fee, thus permitting the doctor to recover only 20% from the patient.  By these and other steps private practices could and would be eliminated, and doctors made more and more dependent upon the Government for their incomes.  Virtual nationalisation of the medical system would be achieved by indirect methods.

The general public must not be tricked into believing that the fate of the medical profession is no concern of theirs.  Hitler’s National Health Service was one of the most effective instruments he had for controlling the individual German.  The complete Monopoly State necessitates that the individual shall have no avenue of escape from the dictates of the central planners.  Under the fully planned society, individuals must not be permitted to interfere with the central plan by producing private doctors’ certificates stating they are not well enough for work prescribed by the planners.

In such a totalitarian society as the Socialists contemplate, doctors would obviously be required by regulation to carry out examinations concerning fitness for certain occupations.  There would be an increase in nonmedical work by the keeping of records and the making of reports.

All this is no fantasy.  It is urgently necessary that sufficient people realise in time that the proposed National Health Scheme is another thin edge of the wedge for which the Socialist monopolists are striving desperately to find a crevice in the democratic structure.  All those who prize the little freedom they still possess should inform their doctors by letter, telegram, or telephone that they desire them to stand firm against the latest Canberra assault.

Federal non-Labor members would also assist considerably if they would make a definite statement that, if elected at the next elections, they will immediately destroy the National Health Schema completely.  It is possible to ensure that every individual has access to the best medical services while at the same time preserving the freedom of both doctors and patients.

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