From the President...

Orthodox Constitutionalism

Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD

The history of "King HCFA" is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of absolute Tyranny over physicians and the practice of medicine in these United States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

"King HCFA" has refused his assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good via administration of an unConstitutional government program.

"King HCFA" has implemented a plethora of contradictory and confusing regulations and attached horrendous threats for the sole purpose of controlling the practice of medicine and forcing physicians into compliance.

"King HCFA" has obstructed justice and repeatedly violated Due Process rights of physicians by accusing physicians of spurious "crimes" and considering them to be "guilty until proven innocent."

"King HCFA" has repeatedly interfered with the sacrosanct patient-physician relationship, substituting the King's "judgement" over that of trained and qualified physicians.

"King HCFA" has made Medicare Hearing officers and Administrative Law Judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries and has subjected our physicians to a jurisdiction foreign to our U.S. Constitution.

"King HCFA" has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of bureaucrats and armed FBI agents to harass our physicians, and eat out their substance.

"King HCFA" has imposed unlawful taxes on physicians by fixing prices for medical services, at times forcing physicians to provide their labor at below cost or free of any charge.

"King HCFA" has plundered our physicians, ravaged our hospitals, eliminated patients' freedom of choice and destroyed the lives of our people.

"King HCFA" is at this time transporting large armies of FBI agents and has deputized even larger armies of patients turning them against their own physicians to complete the works of destruction of private medicine, desolation, and tyranny already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy, scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages and totally unworthy of any civilized nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, as a direct result of twisting and perverting our U.S. Constitution beyond recognition, we have arrived at the same state of tyranny our forefathers tried so desperately to escape. John Hancock, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams and their colleagues would be totally appalled at what We The People have allowed to occur. We have traded our liberty for false promises of government security with the end result that we will be the beneficiary of neither.

I've always been a Non-Participating physician in the government's Medicare program and have never signed any contract with Medicare, yet I am still subject to the tyranny of "King HCFA." Even "opted out" physicians, unless they are office-based and see no emergencies whatsoever, are not totally free of "King HCFA" because of the "emergency" provisions of Section 4507. "King HCFA," you see, determines what constitutes an "emergency" and once determined, the opted out physician is subject to all of the King's regulations, restrictions and price controls. There seemingly is no escape from the King.

As I think back over my early years in the practice of private medicine in the land of Goshen --- Goshen, Indiana --- I think about the hitching post that was out in front of my office and of the kind and gentle people who used it. They were all exempt from the Medicare program for religious reasons. Now, although I am not suggesting that we alter our dress or mode of transportation, the concept of being exempt from "King HCFA's" tyranny for religious reasons I find most appealing. Perhaps we could call this new "religion" Orthodox Constitutionalism. The plain and simple creed - one nation under God with strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution.

We, the AAPS physicians, have a special duty and responsibility to educate our colleagues and patients about the dangers of government intrusion in medicine in general and about socialized medicine ("universal coverage") in particular. "We The People" have lost our way, blinded by the prospect of more and more booty promised to us by slick politicians. We The People, however, cannot continue to live at the expense of "others." Over time, there simply won't be enough working "others" for government to plunder to supply all of the wants and needs of We The People. This is the reality of the situation. And, although reality may not be popular, reality is what it is and won't go away by simply ignoring it. Reality will prevail and hopefully freedom of choice and the practice of private medicine will survive. If not, government-controlled medicine with no choice, no freedom, and rationed care will leave patients and physicians alike with no options and no escape from the "King."

Orthodox Constitutionalism anyone?

Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD is president of AAPS and a practicing neurologist in Jamestown, New York.

Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 2000;5(6);195. Copyright©2000 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS)