It never ceases to amaze me how freedom is the answer to everything, and how state control is the source of every problem. I was watching a youtube video about medical cannabis – marijuana – which is legal here in Israel but always teetering on the edge of being outlawed. One of the biggest problems is that doctors do not want to prescribe it very often for two reasons. First, they fear that if they’re too lenient, they will be singled out by the State health ministry and crucified. This happened to the doctor of Moshe Feiglin’s father while he (Feiglin’s father) was dying of cancer. Marijuana helped him greatly with cancer pain after Dr. Johnny prescribed it. Later Dr. Johnny was attacked by the State for prescribing it too much to people who didn’t fit the exact criteria, and Feiglin came to his defense. That’s when the whole Feiglin-legalize-pot thing started. You can read the article here.
But more importantly, doctors have a financial incentive not to prescribe medical marijuana. Why? Because drug companies often donate to hospitals and have a very large effect on any given doctor’s career. The more they prescribe medications made by those companies, the better off they’ll be financially.
Any statist who believes in government force will look at that factoid and come to the conclusion that the State should outlaw pharmaceutical companies from donating to hospitals, or whatever they do to give doctors incentives to prescribe their drugs. But this is not the answer. In order to understand the answer, you have to understand the source of the problem.
The source of the problem is State-controlled health care.
When a patient goes to see a doctor, it’s free, or in the best case, extremely heavily subsidized. Doctors get no money from patients. Their money comes from the government. If they prescribe a medication, the government pays for it. If someone gets sick, they get a form from the government which gives them permission to go see a doctor of the government’s choosing. No doctor can compete with any other doctor for patients (AKA customers), and none of the doctors care, because regardless of how many patients they see or whether they heal them or not, their salaries do not change, unless they go on strike and protest the government.
Why would any doctor under a state controlled health care system want to prescribe marijuana to a patient when it doesn’t earn him any extra than prescribing him some expensive drug from Teva? Why would a doctor even want to learn about medical marijuana when there’s no incentive to be a better doctor?
The answer is to free the health care system and have doctors and hospitals compete with each other. In a true Jewish State, health care would be subject to the free market. If doctors started getting their money not from the State, but from the customers – their patients – then they’d have every incentive in the world to make their patients feel good and heal them. Say you have one doctor prescribing a cancer patient chemotherapy and some pharmaceutical drug, vicodin or whatever, to lessen the pain. Vicodin is expensive and the customer – not the government – pays for it. Say it doesn’t work and the cancer patient is vomiting all the time and living in hell. He will not be happy with his doctor and he will stop paying the doctor and he will stop buying the vicodin and the doctor will have a bad reputation because all his cancer patients feel like hell.
Say there’s another doctor that prescribes medical marijuana to his cancer patients, and it’s cheap and it works. His patients will be happy because they’re paying for the marijuana and it’s cheap so they continue to pay the doctor, and other customers – cancer patients – will go to him instead of the vicodin doctor who prescribes an expensive drug that does nothing.
It won’t matter at all if the vicodin companies are paying the bad doctor extra to prescribe the vicodin, because he won’t have any patients left to prescribe anything to in the first place.
The best doctors who heel people the best with the cheapest stuff will make the most money and have the most patients. The ones who have patients buying expensive drugs that don’t work and want to die from the pain will go out of business.
Drug companies want state controlled health care. It allows them to control the system and get rich by creating bad products. In a free market, they’d have no unfair influence. The good drugs they produce will be bought. The bad ones will not. They’ll have to compete just like everyone else.
Freedom solves everything.