Spotlight issues such as Obamacare get all the attention because they’re in the….um…spotlight. But whatever the short-term resolution of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the long march to hegemony by the National Government continues.
The guise is usually some humanistic concern, or social goal, sometimes expressed as compassion and sometimes in terms of economics or the needs of the civic interest. The contortions the “urgency”-sayers go through are necessary because of things like….the Constitution. But they press ahead. The latest problem requiring federal intervention is prescription drugs. We have all seen stories about their abuse and the damage they cause and the harm to families and society. And here comes the newest recommendation to address the problem: federal mandates through the FDA for drug manufacturers to ‘educate’ doctors about drug abuse, over prescription and the like.
Companies that manufacture powerful, long-acting opioid painkillers will have to sponsor education programs about how to appropriately prescribe their drugs, according to the FDA.
In the final version of the agency’s risk evaluation and mitigation strategy (REMS) for extended-release and long-acting opioids, such as OxyContin, it states that the education will follow a blueprint drafted by FDA and the drugmakers and will be created by medical education companies.
Now you might say “Excuse me, but doctors go to medical school for, like, fifteen years or something. Do they not learn about drugs in medical school? Why don’t they have access to a pharmacopeia?” Or “Johns Hopkins has been in the business of educating doctors for centuries. Is a government-sponsored plan facilitated by drug peddlers necessary because Johns Hopkins are quacks?” Or “Wait a minute! Are all the State regulatory and licensing boards and health boards actually facades with nobody manning the desks behind them?” Or, “Why am I paying taxes for a bureaucracy to have all medical doctors obtain a DEA number and go through the rigmarole of accounting, logistics and documentation associated with narcotics and opiods if the dumb Docs can’t take a hint that somebody thinks they need to be careful with these things?”
You might even be moved to complain “How can the Federal Government order private corporations to make it their business to educate doctors? We were told that John Roberts absolutely obliterated the Commerce Clause in NFIB vs. Sebelius!.”…..(slight pause here for a stifled guffaw. Even if he did, the taxing clause will do just as well………..he said.)
You would be right to ask such questions. But you would be wrong to think you would get satisfactory or Constitutionally justifiable answers in most of the places you would ask, because, dear readers, the Federal Government taking over these and other areas of purview formerly reserved to the States and to the People and the formerly independent and self-respecting practitioners of the arts and sciences is simply, as Barack Obama says, “The Right Thing To Do.”
epi: The sad fact is that older people are often subject to pain, and often chronic pain. And it costs the Medicare and Medicaid programs and insurance plans lots and lots of money to ease their pain. In order for there to be enough money in the pot for free birth control and sex change operations and the ever-growing bipolarized disability class, somebody is going to have to suffer. That’s why doctors need to be re-educated. fini.