August 2, 2001
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.
Mr. Speaker, as you know, I am a physician. I practiced medicine for more than 30 years, and I can certainly
vouch for the fact that medicine is a mess, managed care is not working very well; and, hopefully, we do something good to improve it. Unfortunately, I am not all that optimistic.[Page: H5192] GPO's PDF
I support this rule because it is dealing with a very difficult subject and it brings the Democratic base bill to the floor. I do not see why we should not be able to amend that bill, so I do support the rule.
But the IRS code has 17,000 pages of regulation. The regulations that we as physicians have to put up with are 132,000 pages. Most everything I see that is happening today is we are going to increase those pages by many more thousands. So I am not optimistic that is going to do a whole lot of good.
I think we went astray about 30-some years ago in the direction of medical care when the government, the Federal Government, got involved. The first thing is we changed our attitude and our definition of what ``rights'' are. We call this a Patients' Bill of Rights. It has very little to do with rights, because most of what we do in medicine, we undermine individual rights.
We have a right in society, in a free society, to our life and our liberty, and we have a right to use that liberty to pursue our happiness and provide for our own well-being. We do not have a right to medical care. One has no more right to a service than one has a right to go into someone else's garage and steal an automobile. So the definition of ``rights'' has been abused for 30 years, but the current understanding is that people have a right to services. So I think that is a serious flaw and it has contributed to our problem today.
The other serious flaw that we have engaged in now for 30 years is the dictation of contract. For 30 years now under ERISA and tax laws, we have forced upon the American people a medical system where we dictate all the rules and regulations on the contracts; and it causes nothing but harm and confusion. Today's effort is trying to clear this up; and, unfortunately, it is not going to do much good.