“Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.” – Martin Niemoller
With the announcement that the Biden Administration will attempt a takeover of US labor markets by forcing private companies to vaccinate their employees, the limits of our Constitution are being tested before our eyes. With 210 million Americans now vaccinated with at least one dose against COVID-19, we’re seeing 300 percent of the national cases that we saw one year ago when nobody was vaccinated. As a public benefit, the vaccine has failed to accomplish its most vital public goal, which is neutralizing the virus. On the contrary, it appears to have accelerated its spread and possibly its mutation. Ignoring the questionable efficacy of the vaccines in providing public benefit, we’ve decided that lashing out at the remaining third of eligible individuals who haven’t received the vaccine is now an appropriate response. It makes exactly zero sense that the unvaccinated are now the greatest threat to those protected by the vaccines. Where have the rational scientific minds gone?
This past week I was sent an AP article from a high school friend back east who was asking about the truthfulness of the article and about our state of healthcare emergency in Idaho. Before even opening the article, I knew that it was referring to the St. Luke’s Healthcare network in Boise. Back in July, we were reading about how St. Luke’s was mandating vaccines for its health care staff in the middle of this health care labor shortage, or face termination. As in much of the rest of the country, consideration for natural immunity is not guaranteed. Similarly and not long after that, the Idaho Department of Public Health updated their capacity census by removing unstaffed hospital beds, thus pinning capacity on health care staffing and not infrastructure. This is not limited to Idaho and is a national phenomenon that will only be exacerbated by the Biden Administration’s latest command. The State of Missouri is reporting twenty-plus percent fewer hospital and ICU beds this year than they were at the same time last year. This is an absurd forced error of reduced health care capacity during a labor shortage, and will undoubtedly result in overworking those that comply and remain, as well as taxing patient care and outcomes.
When the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, many critics opined the beginning of the death march for private health care. They rightly noted the impending consolidation of health care and expansion of government into the sector with the ACA’s rollout. In 2012, fifty-three percent of surveyed physicians owned their own practice. In 2021, surveys have shown that seventy percent of physicians are now employed by hospitals or corporate entities. Now during COVID-19, health care providers are left with little leverage in negotiation as their ability to practice and a bulk of their reimbursement is hamstrung by CMS or other government entities. Health care employers who do not comply with state dictates risk losing all government reimbursement for services provided, access to regulated facilities such as hospitals or nursing homes, or even their medical licenses. There is little doubt that forced strains in staffing will only multiply calls for the government to save us from our self-imposed crisis.
One might question whether the lack of guidance to outpatient medicine (largely private) by advisory bodies like the National Institute of Health throughout the pandemic was with the intent for private practice to spurn their patient base and leave a desperate population to seek out care at preferred corporate and government endorsed hospital facilities? I know that at least for this author, my primary care provider declined to see me for respiratory illness despite two negative COVID-19 tests. This theory would comport with the “go home until you can’t breathe” guidance, and explain the hospital CMS bonusing structure for COVID-19 diagnoses established by Congress as a part of COVID-19 relief stimulus. It would also align with the punitive lockdown policies that shuttered small businesses while sending the profits of major corporate retailers through the roof.
Not content with merely trashing the health care markets, the Biden Administration has taken it upon themselves to extend vaccine dictates to the private sector by forcing certain private businesses to mandate the health choices of their employees as well. At a time when employment numbers consistently underperform projections, market supply dwindles and inflation soars, the Biden Administration has deemed it a necessary evil to destroy what remains of a limping economy. And for their part, many corporate executives are and will play along. Having just completed lecturing their customer base on matters of politics and social justice, corporations now turn their disdain for their customer base to their employees. What outcome do these executives hope to accomplish by their actions? Do they believe themselves shielded from cost-cutting measures to come when a third of America is put out of work? Do they anticipate an expanded global consumer base following a contrived Great Reset that will make up for their short-term losses?
Martin Niemoller was a 20th-century German theologian famous for his opposition to the Nazi regime. Notably, he penned the poem “First They Came” in which he laments the failure of society to speak up on behalf of those without a voice. Eventually, the regime turned on those who felt insulated and who failed to speak up for others and they found themselves without an ally in the end. Today we find ourselves at a similar junction. Yesterday, it was private practice and small business in the crosshairs of big government. Today, new vaccine mandates specifically target private industries with over 100 employees. With a limping economy and waning efficacy of our vaccines, we’re trading the foundations of a free society for perceptions of temporary security by instituting draconian policies that place conditions upon human existence in society. Given the incremental progression of our ever-encroaching response to disease, there has never been a better time to push back and there may not be another to come.