The Rot at the Core of the US Medical Establishment
In March 2020 an exceptionally resourceful intensive care nurse in New Jersey recognized a crisis, rallied her colleagues together, and solved a problem. Olga Matievskaya at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center saw firsthand how the early wave of COVID-19 patients were infecting staff who did not have personal protective equipment (PPE). She started a GoFundMe page and raised $12,000 to buy masks, shoe covers, and jumpsuits to protect herself and her co-workers. But rather than thanking Olga for her quick thinking and promoting her to head of supply chain, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center suspended her without pay for “distributing unauthorized protective gear.” Never mind that Olga had won the international Daisy Award for extraordinary nursing and her critical care skills were needed more than ever. For Newark Beth Israel no PPE at all was apparently better than PPE bought by staff demonstrating more competence than its management.
A few months later the same managers who suspended Olga made mask-wearing mandatory and become the mask-wearing police. A year later administrators began firing people who refused a COVID-19 vaccine despite growing concerns about the vaccines’ safety and efficacy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the depths of mismanagement, incompetence, greed, and utter stupidity that pervades the American medical establishment — what I call Corporate Medicine. Yet Corporate Medicine, with the help of the Corporate Media, is trying to wave it away: “a one-in-a-lifetime event” and “we did the best we could… without us, it would’ve been so much worse.”
Before recent history is whitewashed, my purpose here is to explain that COVID-19 demonstrates how healthcare operates every day, not just during a pandemic.
Just as other industries in the US are controlled by oligarchs connected to the federal government, so too is healthcare. Just as a revolving door swings between the SEC and big banks, and between the Pentagon and defense contractors, so too exists a revolving door between the NIH, FDA, CDC, and the oligopoly of hospital, insurance, and pharmaceutical companies. In fact, medicine has its own chapel within the so-called ‘Cathedral’, i.e. the network of institutions and cultural forces dictating conventional wisdom in America, to borrow a term from blogger Curtis Yarvin. Enlightened progressive physicians in academia, government, and ‘non-profits’ mutually empower each other and dictate a self-serving healthcare policy to those of us operating on the front lines.
What has become clear post-COVID is that the medical community (including individual clinicians) is subservient to the greater political Cathedral operating in the United States. There is a bottom-up problem with how physicians are selected and trained, and a top-down problem with the organizations that constitute Corporate Medicine.
Medical Education & Training: Failing Forward
Most of the American public admires and has faith in physicians. The general perception of doctors is that they are brilliant, selfless, hard-working people dedicated to healing their patients. I’m not here to bash all doctors (I am one after all), but the current caliber of the physician population is more uneven than one may assume. To become a physician, one must finish medical school, residency, and also in some cases, a fellowship. While originally rigorous and focused on patient care, the current motto for medical training is not the Hippocratic oath, but rather “We Fail Forward.”
People often assume that it’s difficult to get into medical school, and that while many aspire to become doctors, most do not succeed. That is no longer still true. US medical school acceptance rates vary from 2.2% to 27.1%, but that is from the side of the school. From the view of the applicant, the actual acceptance rate is 41.9%. With cheap government loans to fund numerous applications (an average of 17 per aspiring doctor), entering medical school begins to resemble the flip of a coin.
And if the coin flips the wrong way, there is always the Caribbean. If the dream of doctoring is too powerful to give up after 17 rejections, you can pack your bathing suit and head to Aruba. As of today, there are 26 offshore medical schools with deceptively American-sounding names like Georgetown American University (Grenada) and Metropolitan University College of Medicine (Antigua). Although most of those Caribbean institutions are for-profit, tuition is subsidized with the same federal student loans available for stateside institutions. Students graduate with the coveted MD degree and no mark of their sub-par Caribbean training.
Optimistic Boomers would probably object that “well, you still have to graduate medical school.” However, in our current system acceptance to medical school is the tightest funnel in the process of becoming a doctor. The unspoken incentive of every medical school (stateside or beachside) is for all students to graduate and match into a residency program. A single medical student failure risks the school’s accreditation, and consequently the associated laboratory and research programs at the entire institution that receive lucrative NIH grants. In other words, the primary goal of every medical school administrator is not training excellent doctors, but keeping the show on the road.
Although the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) makes it hard to decipher graduation rates, the data speaks for itself. Forget trying to figure out if your surgeon got a ‘D’ in their surgery rotation — medical school grades have been pass-fail for decades now. The most recent AAMC data (circa 2010) reports a four-year graduation rate of 82.5%, and an eight-year graduation rate of 96.6%, as some students take time off for research.
Soon to graduate medical students must choose a specialty so they can ‘match’ into a residency. Here too the incentive structure is malformed. Poorly performing students who once upon a time might have failed are now encouraged by medical school leadership to become primary care doctors. Primary care residencies like family medicine and pediatrics are easy to match into. Stellar students are encouraged to populate competitive (and lucrative) specialties such as interventional radiology, plastic surgery, and neurosurgery. You may go your entire life without needing a neurosurgeon, but at some point, you will likely receive primary care. Our perverted medical training system fills niche specialties with the best and brightest, and fills the specialties that see the most patients with a mixture of duds and idealists.
If you’re hoping that residency and fellowship will finally filter out any dangerous or bad doctors, your optimism is misplaced. Actual residency graduation rates are firewalled by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, but survey data from the AAMC shows that between 71-78% of medical school graduates completed residency within four years (note that many residencies are five or six years in length). The AAMC also reports that the number of residency programs in the US is increasing, demonstrating the push to graduate more residency-trained physicians. While medical schools’ fail-forward model is already concerning, post-residency the stakes become higher, as doctors now practice without any oversight, in an environment populated by healthcare administrators that rewards compliance over competence.
Hospitals: The Peter Principle
Between 1975-2010, the number of physicians in the US grew by 150% (in keeping with general population growth). Healthcare administrative positions grew by 3,200%, redefining the meaning of a top-heavy organization. And in accord with the Peter Principle, when this many people rise a level or two above their level of competence, things go wrong.
The COVID-19 pandemic put hospital incompetence on the front-page. Yet this was only the latest episode of hospitals’ ineptitude. During Hurricane Katrina, many hospitals in the New Orleans region completely failed to prepare for flooding and a resulting loss of power. This deadly oversight occurred despite having entire offices of hospital administrators assigned to disaster management. Yet somehow it never occurred to people employed full-time to think about ways things could go wrong in a flood zone to consider that low-lying hospital generators might flood and fail. Foreshadowing COVID-19, the H1N1 pandemic (aka swine flu) in 2009 exposed local hospital, state, and national medication, mask, and testing swab shortages. Despite after-action reports recommending measures that would’ve alleviated some early COVID-19 issues, nothing was done.
To ensure that a trusted physician in a white coat can represent them well at press conferences, the bloated hospital bureaucracy chooses the most compliant doctors to join their ranks. The usual move is to anoint a physician figurehead to the key Chief Email Officer (aka CEO) position. From a talent pool of doctors whose only leadership training is learning by counterexample come the Chief Medical Officers, and occasionally the Chief Financial Officers of your local hospital. That last position is truly a disaster, as doctors are notoriously naïve and ignorant of basic finance.
Rank-and-file doctors aren’t pushing back. The normal compliance ritual, besides now the COVID vaccination, is voting for their hospital in the annual US News and World Report rankings. Distrust those annual ‘Best Hospital’ rankings, which are medicine’s equivalent to Oscars, leading to hospitals unveiling self-congratulatory highway billboards celebrating “We’re #2 in Otolaryngology!” The rankings are built on shoddy US government quality rankings and physician surveys. Annual emails from the C-Suite issue the marching orders: 1) Fill out the damn survey, 2) Get a few of your colleagues to fill it out too, and 3) Of course you know that your institution is the best, right? In fact, some hospitals even employ teams of analysts entirely dedicated to gaming the annual US News and World Report rankings.
Highway billboard status secured, hospitals can turn to the only other thing they do well, which is price gouging everyone, living or dead. The most notorious is HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the US (163 facilities and counting), with over $1 billion in profits in the first quarter of 2020 alone. Non-profit hospitals are no better. In return for giving up the capitalist dream of profits, those hospitals are subsidized to provide charity care to indigent patients. Charity care should mean billing discounts and/or flexible payment plans. In practice, charity care means hospitals chase after indigent patients with inflated bills devoid of any discounts.
The Cathedral runs constant cover for the hospital mafia. For-profit hospitals send their CEOs directly to Congress, for example former HCA CEO and now Florida Senator Rick Scott. Non-profit hospitals contribute $24 million yearly to the American Hospital Association, which lobbies Congress. In exchange for that investment, non-profit hospitals are handsomely rewarded with $30 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies.
Woke Medicine: The Cathedral’s Clinic
Even the most cynical citizens prior to COVID-19 did not think individual medical doctors would change practice based on politics. It turns out, however, that medical practitioners will literally subordinate patient health to sociopolitical goals. From our “healthcare heroes” on their social media platforms comes “guns are a public health problem,” fat acceptance (obesity is racist), silencing of the debate on transgender surgery for children, and drugs with (R) and (D) political affiliations (aka ivermectin and Remdesivir). Unfortunately, you can’t just ‘listen to your doctor’ anymore without skepticism, same as you would listen to Don Lemon or Rachel Maddow. Just as the Cathedral’s edicts trickle down to the Corporate Media and then the blue checks on Twitter, its medical edicts filter down to healthcare organizations and physicians.
Woke medicine is well characterized by the statements and actions of the American Medical Association (AMA). The AMA has been a progressive pit bull for over 150 years. Its love of government authority has historically included compulsory vaccination, from smallpox vaccines in 1899, to now COVID-19 vaccines. The Association has repeatedly pushed for gun control declaring “gun violence” a “public health emergency,” coupled with the cliché line of “commonsense reforms such as expanded background checks.” The “war on smoking” included supporting bans on tobacco advertising and increasing tobacco taxes. The AMA even has its own political action committee, the American Medical Political Action Committee (AMPAC). AMPAC pushed hard with the rest of the Cathedral for Obamacare, despite the fact that most physicians are either opposed to or ambivalent towards the Affordable Care Act. Aside from the AMA, perhaps the most destructive actions are being taken by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) with their push for gender reassignment surgery in children.
As organizations like the AMA and AAP run amok, the issues and advocacy filter down to individual physicians. Those physicians, blithely assured that they know what is best for the world, have become fanatically woke and narcissistic. In acts devoid of irony or self-awareness, doctors and nurses filmed TikTok with choreographed dances in their PPE in order to illustrate their devotion to caring for COVID-19 patients. Because, of course, nothing says “This disease is so terrible, and we’re totally overwhelmed” like turning the ICU into a scene from High School Musical. Despite, or because of how cringe this all is (imagine how a real physician from Doctors Without Borders feels watching these while treating outbreaks of Ebola, measles, and COVID-19 in a Congolese war zone), the media loves their new science apostles.
And apostles they are. If you get COVID and are unvaccinated, expect an uphill battle with conventional doctors at clinics and hospitals, and a lot of “I told you so.” If you want to be treated better, seek out a sane doctor who will boldly write an ivermectin prescription. As for vaccine injuries, I have not seen a single colleague reporting to VAERS, despite numerous patients with myocarditis, blood clots, and major neurologic issues. Yet there is no official edict or policy to whitewash vaccine injuries. In the Cathedral there doesn’t need to be direct coordination. My colleagues just know to dismiss the side effects of COVID vaccines, just as lemmings know to keep running off the cliff.
Government: Process-Based Organizations
Entire libraries could be filled on each individual government agency’s role in the Corporate Medicine cogwheel and the heinous role of big pharma and insurance giants. The TL:DR version is the people in charge and their corporate handlers are either sinister, greedy, completely inept, or all of three. Both the CDC and NIH grew out of the post-WWII baby boom in government bureaucracy — the CDC was established in 1946 and the NIH in 1947. CDC originally stood for Communicable Disease Center; however, its current name came about in 1970, and Prevention was added in 1992. The addition of Prevention officially extended the CDC’s reach far beyond fighting Ebola in the hot zone to current ‘threats’ such as tobacco smoke, obesity, chronic diseases, and workplace hazards (now to include brutish unvaccinated people running around offices). Suffice to say, the CDC, which has continually contradicted itself over the past eighteen months, is vastly exceeding its original charter.
The CDC issues statements, but it’s the NIH that actually does things. The NIH is also extremely well funded ($42 billion in 2020), and therefore more dangerous. The NIH conducts internal research at its hospital and laboratories in Bethesda, Maryland, and funds external research at American universities and indeed in Wuhan, China. But the EcoHealth Alliance adventure was not the NIH’s first rodeo. For that we would have to consider their work with the CIA in the ’60s and ’70s. For its MK-ULTRA program, the CIA funneled money to the NIH and its National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) via non-profit foundations under the guise of treating addiction, depression, and other mental health problems. NIMH performed ‘studies’ for MK-ULTRA and outsourced work via grants to academic institutions (including Harvard). Those studies involved recruiting both regular and troubled Americans to be unwitting recipients of LSD and other mind-altering substances, often given at astronomically high doses for prolonged periods of time. What little we know of that ‘research’ is that it did not advance mental health treatment and did not improve our national security. Replace CIA with Dr. Fauci, Harvard with UNC, non-profit foundations with EcoHealth Alliance, addiction with SARS, and LSD with genetically modified coronaviruses, and you see NIH history repeating itself.
Just as the NIH was delighted to serve as the CIA’s lapdog, the same goes with the FDA and big pharma. The scheme works like this: the FDA sets Kabuki theater rules for drug development and testing. Big pharma makes the drug and supplies it. The NIH and universities spend taxpayer dollars performing the FDA-required clinical trials. The trial data then goes back to big pharma’s statisticians for analysis, which the FDA reviews, and approves. Rinse and repeat. This cycle has been a constant source of heartburn for the small number of true research ethicists left and resulted in multiple declarations of highly effective drugs that were, in fact, not effective at all. Between 2000-2011, 102 drug trials were retracted, 73 for scientific misconduct and 29 for statistical or other reporting errors. Beyond drug approval, the FDA is supposed to be engaged in post-marketing surveillance of drug quality and efficacy. Yet as detailed in the page-turner Bottle of Lies, the FDA fails time and time again to prevent carcinogens from appearing in blood pressure and heartburn medications, pieces of stainless steel in Moderna vaccines, and bacteria in insulin.
Government public health defenders would probably cry at this point: “But we beat polio!” Except that it was the March of Dimes that beat polio. March of Dimes, a private foundation, organized a polio vaccine clinical trial with 1.8 million pediatric participants in the ’50s, funded by private donations. The organization (then called the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis) then began a mass vaccination campaign. True, there was an early setback when a bad vaccine batch caused 250 cases of actual polio. But unlike today, March of Dimes was a mission-oriented organization aiming to improve society. Therefore, the problem was corrected, a better version of the vaccine was produced, and the campaign continued towards success. The last known case of polio in the US occurred in 1979.
The ‘Free Market’: Pharma Bro & the Oligopoly
The government and its bureaucrats (hoping to land cushy post-government jobs) facilitate consolidation into entities “too big to fail” and continually serve the whims of those ever-growing corporations. Big pharma and healthcare insurance are the equivalent of big banks circa 2008. Instead of subprime mortgages, here we have the drug class known as statins to illustrate how big pharma always gets what it wants. Statins are drugs that lower blood cholesterol levels; and one in four Americans have been prescribed a statin. That statistic reflects our obesity epidemic and the prescription-happy patterns of doctors. Why would you stop eating crap and start lifting weights when you can just pop a pill? And those statin pills generate $17.2 billion dollars ($7.6 billion from direct out-of-pocket consumer costs) to big pharma and its lobbyist friends.
“That’s money well-earned preventing heart attacks!”, Mr. Normie-con would probably interject. Never mind that statins don’t actually do that, as it takes 1,000 people each taking a statin for 5 years to prevent one heart attack. Not only that, but like COVID-19 vaccines, it turns out statins can be quite harmful. The ideal patient would take a statin and begin exercising vigorously to lose weight and get healthy. Except statins can cause something called rhabdomyolysis, where in response to exercise (or simply nothing at all) muscles break down and shed protein into the blood. The kidneys then attempt to filter the protein and are damaged (potentially irreversibly). That’s what statins do to the big muscles of the body, but they also have been linked to weakening of the most important muscle, the heart. Yet despite that, statins are blockbuster drugs with protected status by the FDA, and newer and more expensive brand-name statins continue to be approved to this day.
Also always approved by their friends in the government are the actions of insurance companies. BlueCross/BlueShield is one of the biggest government donors, with other major insurance companies not falling far behind. And these insurers love their government regulations! The US government has allowed them to eat little regional insurance companies alive, vertically integrate with hospitals and pharmacies, and outright collude with hospitals to set prices. In return, insurance companies occasionally rescue the government from its more embarrassing episodes – like when a subsidiary of United Health Group fixed the disastrous Obamacare website… for $2.2 billion.
The revolving door between insurance execs and government administrators (like United Health Group’s senior executive Andy Slavitt, who later became acting administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) allows healthcare insurers to rob Peter to pay Paul. In our ‘free market’ system, if you have good insurance, you’ll be charged more out of pocket. The best thing to do after a major surgery or ER visit is feign bankruptcy. I once had the pleasure of explaining to an economist that my hospital charges patients without insurance less than it bills to the do-gooder citizens with actual health insurance. The government passes a blind eye to this price discrimination, but they will be fully awake and active when insurance companies sometime in the future inevitably claim they need bailouts due to COVID-19, despite record profits.
Do these stories sound akin to the gross mismanagement and inefficiencies characteristic of Communist states? Does all this sound closer to a corrupt oligopoly than free-market capitalism? Until now this has been something out of sight and out of mind for most Americans, save those with unexpected catastrophic medical events. But like the financial crisis in 2008, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought medicine’s decay front and center into our everyday lives. And nowhere has that been more evil and more threatening to individual liberty than in the case of vaccines.
Vaccines: Jab or Job or Something Else
The propaganda for, and also pushback against COVID-19 vaccines tends to refer to those vaccines as one entity: “the shot,” “the jab”, or simply “the vaccine.” Yet not all COVID vaccines are equal, and they may not even be vaccines. Although the CDC has changed its definition of what a vaccine is, and surely the CDC, WHO, and various governments will continue to change their definition of what being fully vaccinated means, the original purpose of vaccines is clear. Vaccination is a means to prevent disease from happening at all by conferring immunity from infection. Edward Jenner, when developing the smallpox vaccine, was not trying to make smallpox infection ‘less deadly’. He was an innovator trying to prevent smallpox infection from ever taking hold in people’s bodies. Today, we don’t get smallpox but just get “less sick” or have “asymptomatic infections.” We don’t get smallpox at all. Smallpox has been eradicated from society — that is, except for vials stored at the trusty CDC.
In this sense, COVID vaccines aren’t really vaccines. They’re also not all equal. Traditional vaccines fall into two categories: protein-based and inactivated virus. That ‘OG’ technology is present in vaccines like those against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP), and against mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR), respectively. However, Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca vaccines are neither protein-based nor inactivated virus vaccines. The first two are mRNA and the last two are adenovirus vector vaccines, and both are new vaccine technology and totally experimental. Anyone who isn’t deaf, dumb, or blind then must know that these new experiments have unusual and serious side effects.
If you believe the only COVID-19 vaccines out there are in one of these new experimental forms, from those four companies, you are mistaken. In the US and most of the Western World, this is true. However, in Russia, people can choose between four completely different vaccines. There is the Sputnik V and Sputnik Light, both adenovirus vector vaccines. There is also CoviVac and EpiVacCorona. CoviVac is an inactivated virus vaccine, and EpiVacCorona is a protein-based vaccine. The tour of enemies of the US foreign policy blob also leads us to China’s widely distributed vaccines: Sinovac, a protein-based vaccine, and Sinopharm, an inactivated virus vaccine.
Is this a case of a vaccine Cold War? Are we Westerners flexing our superior technology and the commies simply using old school methods in their backward ways? Doubtful. Was it faster to make mRNA and adenovirus vector vaccines? No. And as it turns out, there is a US company called Novavax desperately trying to get approval for a protein-based COVID vaccine, and a French company Valneva also struggling to obtain European government purchases for an inactivated virus vaccine. Yet curiously, the US government pulled funding from Novavax and the UK government canceled their order with Valneva. So why didn’t we ‘warp speed’ any traditional vaccines? Because the Cathedral, our Ruling Class, the Oligarchy, etc. said so.
No one had ever heard of Novavax or Valneva prior to the pandemic, and likely they are still unknown to the general public and to governments. But Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are household names with enormous lobbying power. (Moderna, somehow, inserted themselves into this mix.) The main point is that, as big names in many a mutual fund, if Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson succeed, then all the fat cats win. Probably the best hope for Novavax and Valneva at this point is to be bought out by a big name with financial and political power.
The lack of vaccine choice (not just to get one or not, but if you want one what type) is only one symptom of medicine’s decay and of American and Western society’s general decline. Just as our rulers have created supply shortages, reduced the stock market to ride the whims of ten companies, and gutted small businesses in favor of Amazon, so too have our health options been whittled down to “jab or job.” Your BMI of 20 and deadlift of 405 pounds cannot grant you entry into a restaurant, but Pfizer can.
Conclusion: What Can We Do?
By now it should be clear that medicine is not an independent sector but rather a weapon the Cathedral wields to advance its political and economic goals. Many healthcare providers are now practicing medicine according to what is said on MSNBC and Twitter rather than using critical thinking. As a physician myself, I deliberately ignored the greater evils and had blinders on the thought patterns (or lack thereof) of many of my colleagues. That changed one day in early 2020 when I showed up to work wearing a self-purchased N95 mask. On balance I thought it seemed prudent to take precautions against an unknown and mysterious respiratory virus. Yet I was the only one wearing a mask out of thousands of hospital employees. In two hours I was threatened with job termination because my appearance was “distressing,” and told that if I was wearing a mask then “others will want one too.” That was my wake-up call — management would rather that me (and my family) get sick than sacrifice appearances.
After replying that I would happily work for said manager, but under no circumstances would I get sick or die for the sake of appearances, my journey was set. I kept my mask on, and kept my job — for the moment. The next year and a half of hearing and seeing “early intubation is best,” to “do anything but intubate,” and “Remdesivir is a miracle drug,” to “Remdesivir causes liver failure,” revealed the hive mentality of my medical colleagues. Now history is repeating itself, and I am one of the few unvaccinated physicians at my hospital. Everyone extols the benefits of these ‘vaccines’ but speaks in hushed tones about breakthrough infections. I’ve treated countless COVID patients by now and, in my view, the risks of the vaccine outweigh the possible benefits. As of this writing, it’s debatable what, if any, benefits there are. Thus my position remains the same. The major difference between then and now is that then it was easy to mouth off to a middle manager; now the Cathedral has flexed its muscle and Biden’s mandates will soon take my job and the jobs of tens of thousands of others.
As disheartening as it is to read all of this, the truth is also that there will not be a dramatic turnaround in 2022, or in 2024. The government and the oligopolies described here will not disappear just because there’s a new President or Congress. The Supreme Court won’t save us. The entire field of practicing doctors will not become based one day, when they finally pay off their student loans and start paying real taxes. This is our healthcare system: Corporate Medicine.
But that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. If like me, you are a healthcare provider faced with losing your job, know your skills are transferable to the gig economy. You can provide expertise and value to your local community being a small business of one (house calls for working parents, concierge care, telemedicine, etc.). You could also try and skate by, Soviet-style, by getting a wink and a nod from your employer with a religious exemption — that may be a smaller percentage chance of victory, but worth a try. If you fall under the anticipated OSHA vaccine regulation for companies with 100 or more employees, try spinning off with your fellow critical thinkers into your own small business — likely those colleagues are the more free-thinking entrepreneurial types. The government is unimaginative, and we have many more options than they can envision.
Lastly, as someone who has witnessed all of this first hand, and as a physician, I feel compelled to offer some basic medical advice. Do not ever give in to something you feel is wrong for your health. There are many options to make a living, but you only have one body and one mind. The Cathedral may control government and many aspects of our lives, but you still control your health. Never sacrifice your health to Corporate Medicine and its apostles, no matter how severe the threat. Body and mind intact, we all can find another way.