May 30, 2024

Government Medicine in Action


So there’s no confusion, I’ll make my position clear from the beginning: The idea of government-run healthcare is a bad joke.  Michael Merritt’s personal saga of his interaction with small-scale government programs is one piece of evidence.  The horror stories that all-too-regularly come out of the Veteran’s Administration hospitals are another.  But it’s not just the bad healthcare that government agencies give that’s the problem.  It’s also about the medicine and the healthcare options that they take away.

A panel of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration has advised that agency to forcibly ban the use of drugs like Vicodin and Percocet that combine acetaminophen and narcotics.  The reason for their elimination?  Risk of overdose.

It’s noble of the government to regret the 458 people whose deaths were documented as being caused by OD’ing on acetaminophen during the 1990s.  It’s unfortunate that sometimes bad things happen to good people when safety rules aren’t followed.  Obviously we should, as a society, do a better job of understanding what we put in our bodies.  Ideally commonly used pills would be perfectly safe.  Failing that, this panel, while divided, seems to think that such life-improving drugs should be verboten.

Frankly that reasoning isn’t worth a damn to a someone with chronic pain, severe migraines, or other source of major discomfort.  There is a risk-reward calculation involved any time we ingest a painkiller or other drug.  Who should make the determination of whether the relief is worth taking a chance on?  No one is better qualified to make the right decision than the person whose life has been disrupted by pain, a panel of detached government bureaucrats least of all.

I predict a huge run on these drugs in coming weeks.  Get down to your local drug store ASAP.


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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