For Love and Justice: An Essay on Socialized Medicine
Since Michael Moore uses the medium of film to call for socialized medicine, I think people should know about alternate methods that demonstrate the evils of socialized medicine. While there are the Free Market Cure film shorts one can see for free on the internet and Logan Darrow Clements’ excellent movie SICK and SICKER, a brilliant literary work is Gen LaGreca’s book, Noble Vision, that was published in 2005.
The book takes place in the near future in New York City where surgeon Doctor David Lang takes a liking for ballet dancer Nicole Hudson. Lang takes time out of his busy schedule to see Nicole perform so Lang can escape his stressful job and the trappings of his marriage that is on the rocks. The ballet Lang sees her perform in the book is entitled Triumph which is a retelling of the myths of Prometheus and Pandora. In Greek mythology, Prometheus brings fire to man in defiance of Zeus’s will and for his disobedience Zeus punishes Prometheus by having him chained him to a rock in Caucasus where he is regularly attacked by an eagle.
In an effort to punish Man, Zeus also gives Pandora a golden box which, as you may know, she opens and releases the evils of mankind. However, the ballet is further revised where Pandora frees Prometheus and together they drive back the evils released from the box while at the same time endure the wrath of Zeus. In a not so subtle effort this ballet sets the tone for the book’s basic plot.
Lang goes so far as to send flowers to Nicole in which he is known to her as The Phantom. Yet, as it turns out, Nicole gets seriously injured during a ballet performance and ends up losing her eye sight. Lang decides to treat her with an experimental surgery he has developed which is deemed illegal by CareFree, New York State’s socialized medicine program. In the book, La Greca points to the onerous rules and regulations doctors (especially surgeons) have to submit to while the system itself penalizes honest, dedicated doctors as means of trying to control costs. All of these consequences LaGreca outlines are based on her extensive research on countries with socialized medicine.
CareFree punishes doctors with heavy fines and even jail time for disobedience. To obtain treatments for patients doctors must plead with bureaucrats for approval for even the most minor procedures. The fees are set by the state so even if a doctor performs twelve hours of surgery, CareFree will only pay for six. Noble Vision is also a novel of how humans struggle to survive under the iron grip of collectivism. LaGreca seems to draw mainly from The Fountainhead with elements of Atlas Shrugged thrown in for good measure, respectfully.
David Lang reminds me of my favorite of Ayn Rand’s charaters, Hank Rearden, than Howard Roark mainly due to Lang’s wife, Marie, being strikingly similar to Lillian Rearden. Marie states that she would rather David had a mistress, than for him to be that passionate about his work so that he doesn’t come home at night. Rather than love him because of his passion for his work, Marie Lang really wants to destroy David since she believes in following the rules unquestionably. For Marie Lang, and several of Noble Vision‘s characters, right and wrong is not determined by one’s sense of life and integrity, but by rules set by others or society itself.
Furthermore, the main element in The Fountainhead that tried to damn Howard Roark was social opinion, as opposed Hank Rearden and David Lang who both end up freeing themselves from outside influences while breaking directives and laws in order to do their jobs and reassert their individuality. Lang is the successful and intelligent entrepreneur driven by his convictions and love of not only his profession but also for his love of Nicole Lang. I am sure if Ayn Rand were alive she would have kind words for Noble Vision and its author.
If you want a look at the reality of socialized medicine and want an excellent, well-written novel that is as much a love story as it is a book on philosophy read Noble Vision and tell others you know who support socialized medicine about it. You will be glad you did.