Freedom First Society

On August 6, 2009, Freedom First Society had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Max Stanley Chartrand, who has been a leader in the fight against socialized medicine since the late 1980s.

Q. The subject of socialized medicine has been of concern to you for many years. When did you first become involved in the effort to oppose it and why?

A. I don’t know if I can tell you exactly when I first became concerned about the push for socialized medicine. But one of my first recollections of being truly alarmed occurred in 1985 when, during the Reagan administration, there was a push to get hearing aids covered by Medicare. As a professional in the hearing industry and as a dispenser of hearing aid products, I recognized that such a move would be the death of dispensers like me and of the private market in general. When I spoke with my colleagues about the matter, I discovered that they were completely unconcerned about the danger. In fact, many of them thought that it would be a good idea if government got involved in covering the cost of hearing aids. So, even though I was initially told to sit down and shut up, I analyzed and researched the matter and vocalized my concerns. One of the most alarming facts that I discovered in my research is that it literally costs 4.25 times more money for the government to provide a service than what it would cost for the private sector to provide that same service. So when we talk about ObamaCare, it’s scary to consider the cost and waste that will surely result if it is passed. Later, in the late 1980s, NAM, the National Association of Manufacturers, called upon industries everywhere to form the D.C.-based Healthcare Equity Action League (HEAL), with the purpose of analyzing and formulating healthcare reform proposals. My position opposing government involvement in healthcare was already well known because of my many articles and letters to Congress that had been published. So they asked me to join the national HEAL committee, where I served until 1996 as a representative of the hearing health professions. One of the widely distributed pieces that I wrote is entitled Public vs. Private: Which Serves the Hearing Impaired Market Best? I wrote this booklet at a time when we were trying to straighten out the Bush [elder] administration on the issue of healthcare. We sent a copy of this and a couple other items that I wrote, along with a very detailed cover letter, to every U.S. Senator and Representative. Soon, many members of Congress were calling me with inquiries about my concerns. In the end, the arguments that we provided pretty much neutralized any of the arguments put forth by the proponents of a single payer [socialist] system under the liberals’ “Pay or Play” at the time.

Q. What is socialized medicine?

A. This is a program often referred to as a “single payer” system, which, in reality, is nothing less than taking all resources from the private sector and placing it under one umbrella that is completely under the control of government. Its proponents try to make it sound simple, elegant and benign. But the reality is these bureaucratic systems are bloated, convoluted, and oppressive. The single payer system transfers people’s education, it transfers facilities, it transfers capability, it transfers progress, ingenuity, scientific discoveries, everything under one government-controlled umbrella. Essentially, we will find less of those things because only the private sector can create these resources. And they do only with solid incentives that reward working hard, using talent and ingenuity, and taking tremendous risks. My advice to a state committee that I recently sat on was that we know that government never produces new resources. It only knows how to use up existing resources, and government’s natural tendency is to grow and become a burden to the people. In this sense government is a negative force, which must be carefully monitored so that it cannot consume all our resources. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), in two past studies, found that it costs the federal government between 72-74 cents to collect, administer, and spend one federal dollar. Logically, we, as Americans, should be doing everything in our power to keep government out of health care.

Q. Has socialized medicine worked in other countries?

A. In my profession I travel to a lot of foreign countries. And, of course, I work with medical professionals in those countries who understand very well how the healthcare systems in their respective countries function. In talking with them there is not a single socialized system out there that can stand on its own weight. All these countries end up implementing ever-higher taxes, inflation-taxes, rationing programs and closing hospital wings, ultimately forcing their already heavily taxed populations to spend money on private medical care. I have not seen socialized medicine work without these consequences in a single country. For example, Canada has a private healthcare program that sits right beside its socialized medicine system. And most Canadians who can afford it say: “Forget it. I am not using the national program!” They know that they’ll have to wait for months before they can receive medical care. Nobody wants to have a heart attack and then be told you’ll have to wait in line before you can see the doctor. Many of these socialist systems claim to take care of emergencies. Not so! In England, where they’re a little more honest about the situation, proponents of their system brag that taxpayers are saving money because of their long waiting lists. Why? Because people are dying while they are waiting for care. Can you believe that they consider that a cost savings?! In fact, they are considering trying to increase their savings by doings things such as increasing waiting times even more and raising the eligibility age from 55 to 65 for those in need of kidney dialysis and other lifesaving procedures. Of course, every one of these systems has a tiny fraction of the state-of-the-art equipment in comparison to the robust private clinics in the U.S. This alone should speak volumes to opponents of private care. The architects of these socialist systems have embraced the lifeboat theory, which is the idea that there are not enough resources to go around, so somebody must be sacrificed for the greater good. The most likely lifeboat scenario, of course, is to start by eliminating the elderly and the infirm. Dr. Ezekial Emanuel, brother of Rahm “dead fish in the mail” Emanuel, is the primary author of ObamaCare. His guiding philosophy on what he calls “the least productive in society” is well spelled out in his writings and translated into practical terms in Obama’s bill. Seniors should be very afraid of what the chief architect of the bill thinks of their worth to society.

Q. How is Obama being deceptive in his efforts to foist socialized medicine on America?

A. First of all, he is providing us with very few details. And when he does take some time to explain his plan he makes false statements, such as: “You won’t lose your present coverage. I promise you that you won’t lose your present coverage.” What people don’t understand is that he is lying to them. What he really means is that you won’t lose your coverage in the first five minutes or weeks or even months after his plan is enacted. But what he is not saying is that once you try to change your policy, try to switch carriers, or your private carrier succumbs to unfair competition from the government, THEN you will have to go to the government program, mandatorily. Even Obama himself has admitted when pressed on this issue that his plan is designed to eliminate private health care entirely. He claims that it will take 15 to 20 years for this to take place. But I think he is deceptively underestimating how long it will take. I think his new plan will create such havoc that private care will soon come crashing down. Corporations are salivating over the idea that they won’t have to cover their employees. The same is especially true of a lot of unionized companies. Another way he is deceiving us is by telling us that “everyone will be covered.” We know this is not true, because everybody has to apply to be accepted into the program. You won’t just automatically receive the card in the mail. I recently heard an estimate on the news that under ObamaCare only 5 million more Americans will receive coverage in addition to those already receiving it.

Q. You have stated in the past that “we can conservatively estimate that during the first year of enactment up to a third of hospitals will close and that millions of healthcare workers will be lined up for unemployment checks.” Why?

A. In reality, I think that the number of private hospitals forced to close under ObamaCare will be much higher than that. Hospitals are extremely hard-pressed to turn a profit now. Imagine what it will be like for them under ObamaCare. Built into his so-called savings is withholding payment of a half-trillion dollars in hospital payments from senior care. Private hospitals, without taxpayer dollars propping them up in the face of such underpayment, will simply fold. I predict that at least a third will fold in the second year of enactment of his plan, with more to come later until few will be left operating, except those needed for federal government employees, Congress, the President, and his favorite whipping boy “the rich.” These are the ones who have been in reality exempted from ObamaCare. Closing of private hospitals and clinics will displace and arbitrarily redistribute personnel so badly that millions will be out of work and/or forced to move if enacted.

Q. Why should older Americans (65 and older) be concerned about Obama’s use of the term “end of life”?

A. The term “end of life counseling” pops up so often in the bill that one would fully expect to see the words “euthanasia” when expounding upon limited resources and an exploding older population. Indeed, everyone 65 and older will be required to submit to “end of life counseling” every five years to remain eligible for a very down-scaled version of MediCare. Yes, I call it “down-scaled” because the bulk of the expected savings ObamaCare promises to provide come at the expense of reduced MediCare payments to hospitals, rationing, and the implementation of “end of life” (read passive euthanasia) policies.

Q. In terms of who will bear the tax burden of socialized medicine, how will America’s middle class be impacted?

A. Obama is deceptive in this regard. He will say with this bill, as he has said with others, that “I didn’t raise the taxes of hard-working Americans, I raised the taxes of fat corporations that are making tons of profits.” But what we don’t realize is that ultimately everyday Americans always end up footing the bill. Surely, with all the printing of funny money underway this very minute it is only a matter of time before the value of every dollar already in circulation is reduced accordingly. Inflation is a terrible tax that hits man, woman, and child. In addition to this, however, will come many tax increases already in the pipeline if the bill is passed. The reason his claim of strapping the backs of “greedy corporations” is a ruse is because corporations compensate by simply reducing the salaries of employees and increasing the costs of their products. Once they hit the bottom line, though, they enact massive layoffs, send jobs overseas, or close their doors. So we end up paying more for what we buy and living on less. My understanding is that Obama and Congress have already increased the total money supply by about 12% this year and that within a year or two that money will work its way back into real value. After things have settled we’ll see an increase in inflation of about 12%, which doesn’t even take into account the naturally occurring 5% annual increase in inflation already underway from the previous so-called conservative president. It amounts to a hidden tax on the American people, but the effects are as real as if they came right out and sent Roman Sentries door to door to collect the tax as in days of old. The third way, of course, is through openly raising taxes. I’m confident that taxes will go up in every bracket to pay for this massive program. They have to. The truth is that right now those making $133,000/year or more — roughly 5% of the population — are paying 61% of the taxes at all levels, including property taxes, federal taxes, state taxes, etc. They will pay no more—they will close their doors, go overseas, or work to stay under each threshold politicians set for economic punishment. So when Obama talks about the so-called rich, he’s not talking about very rich people. For the most part he’s talking about small business owners, who will suffer greatly if Obama’s bill goes through, as will their employees.

Q. A major component of Obama’s healthcare bill is the implementation of a national ID card. Why should this concern us?

A. Actually, the implementation of a national ID card should alarm us a great deal. Americans go to great lengths to make sure that their social security numbers and financial information remain private. Many Americans are unnerved that the government has created databases with a significant amount of personal information associated with that number. But this national ID card goes much further than our social security cards. It’s going to be tied into bank accounts and personal finances. The language in the bill infers that the government will have extremely invasive powers, totalitarian, if you will. For example, if for some reason you go to the hospital and require some very expensive tests and procedures that are not listed under the standard schedule of fees, the government could use your ID card to seize control of your assets and resources to pay what they consider is an “overrun.” A person who applies for ObamaCare will be giving the federal government total access to everything there is to know about that person. There will be absolutely no privacy. We will be living in a society very similar to that described by Aldous Huxley or George Orwell in their novels depicting oppressive, all-powerful governments. So it behooves all of us to get organized and fight this insidious push for socialized medicine. If we care about our freedoms and our constitutional form of government, we need to stop this effort. It’s not just about medical care. It’s not just about politics — that is the game. Instead, it’s about our freedoms and our children’s freedoms. Once we understand the problem, we need to educate others. I know a lot of Americans who don’t know much about health care, but they are instinctively upset about Obama’s plan. We can and should reach out to these Americans and involve them in our efforts. We need everyone to get behind the wheel of freedom and push with all their might. Then, and only then, will we and our children and our children’s children see the true dawning of America’s golden years.

The Dr. Max Stanley Chartrand story reads like a classic. Born at mid-century in Oregon timber country, he started life in a one room shack until he was 3, at which time a childhood illness left him severely hearing impaired and, by mid-adulthood, profoundly deaf. At age 10, he had already embraced the clarinet and went on to play first clarinet in the Denver All-City and Colorado All-State Band and Orchestras. By age 14 he had developed a reputation as a regional professional performer and during college played with several major symphony orchestras. For more than 30 years he conducted some of the finest choirs in church and community. In time, all of the saxophones and clarinets and other woodwinds were added to his repertoire, in jazz and popular bands, and orchestras. He was also recognized with myriad state and national composition awards, and taught music theory and form and analysis while still an undergraduate.

By early adulthood, advancing deafness prompted him to go back to change fields to the health professions, and since then has earned several advanced degrees, including a doctorate in Behavioral Medicine. He is currently an Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Northcentral University, and owns and manages DigiCare Hearing Research & Rehabilitation with his wife Glenys Anne Denyer Chartrand. Together, they publish and lecture worldwide. In 1994, he was honored with the International Joel S. Wernick Excellence in Education Award and has authored numerous books, training manuals, and published papers. A lifelong hearing aid and assistive device user, he now utilizes a surgically implanted cochlear implant to assist him in auditory function. He is often asked how he has achieved what he has in a hearing world, to which he replies, “I guess because no one told me that I couldn’t.” He feels it a travesty to define a child by his handicaps, and feels handicaps can make individuals stronger when they reach past them to achieve their full potential. For many years Dr. Chartrand has been involved in conservative and constitutional causes. In August 2008, he and his wife, Glenys, became members of Freedom First Society. Spread The Word.

Join the conversation.

  1. I support, Say “No” to Socialized Medicine
    We do not need to bring Cuba, Venezuela or any other socialist nation’s failed medical system to our GREAT nation. God Bless the United States of America!

  2. We do not want socialized medicine. I have a friend who lives in Canada and they don’t like it either, there is nothing wrong with the system we now have.

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