In 1941, of course, there was no such thing as medical insurance. But, in April 1943, in an attempt to control inflation concomitant with the war effort, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9328, imposing price and wage controls.
In Richmond California, a suburb of Oakland, Henry J. Kaiser was running a ship yard, pumping out three or four "liberty" ships a month. Kaiser was having trouble attracting enough workers to fulfill his government contracts for ships even before Roosevelt made his life more difficult by freezing the wages he could pay. But Henry Kaiser was a resourceful man, and he hit on a solution. If he couldn't pay people more to come work for him, he could give them something no one else at the time could – company provided health care.
Thus was born the concept of health care insurance. After the war, Kaiser not only continued his employee health care program but expanded it to include first employees' family members and then anyone who wanted to buy health insurance. Today Kaiser Permanente is the largest supplier of health insurance in the world.
As insurance companies added health insurance to their programs and new companies like Blue Cross were formed to offer health insurance to an affluent post-war America. the concept of having someone else pay for your medical care became part of the American norm – for both patients and doctors.
There is only one cause of fraud – opportunity! And medical insurance offers an opportunity for fraud that is hard for even for the most honest of physicians to resist.
Some years ago, in accordance with the requirements of the health insurance my company carried at the time, I went in for an annual physical. The lab found hematuria – usually a sign of kidney stones – and the doctor referred me to a urologist. The urologist sent me for X-rays – performed by a novice who didn't know what he was doing. (I was an X-ray technician at Camp Del Mar dispensary at Camp Pendleton California when I was with the First Marine Division, so I know a little about taking X-rays.)
The urologist then sent me to a hematologist and an endocrinologist and finally, after having enriched his fellow physicians at the expense of my insurance company, he scheduled me for a bladderoscopy. It was negative.
None the less, he scheduled me for a second bladderoscopy. I went back to the original doctor and had him, at my expense, run another urinalysis. There was no hematuria. When I called the urologist and told him I was not going in for the second surgical procedure, he went ballistic. "What are you worried about?" he said. "The insurance company's paying for it."
Some years later, my wife really did have kidney stones. Her urologist (a different one from the first) scheduled her for lithotripsy, a procedure that he was incapable of performing. But he charged my insurance company $3,800 to stand there for 15 minutes and watch the lithotripsy technician do his job.
I could go on and on with other examples, and I'm sure you have some of your own, but the point is that the practice of medicine in the United States has deteriorated from the precepts of the Hippocratic Oath to the practice of hypocritical theft. The practice of medicine, once a profession of care and dedication, has become just a way to make the next payment on the BMW. And we owe it all to health insurance.
And the government's solution to this problem? More health insurance!