Or so the old saying went about the former Soviet Union. Most Americans do not know and many would not even care the the former Soviet Union was the first country to have free healthcare as a "right" for all written into it's constitution. With the revolution and the pollyannic belief that everyone could be made equal came the dismantling of what was the old Russian medical system into the new system ushered in by the Bolsheviks.
First let us remember that the Russian Revolution occurred in 1917. Life spans were shorter and life on the whole was harder. The system as it stood was basically a free market system of sorts. Doctors, who were highly educated and respected, were guaranteed a high standard of living. The people paid for the services. Doctors sometimes gave their services freely or accepted whatever could be offered as payment- livestock, leatherwork, food, etc.
Was it perfect? Is anything? A little known fact is that the Russian medical system and Russian medical research in the early 1900s was internationally recognized.
Usher in Lenin and the Bolsheviks who tear it all down. Oh boy, is this ever starting to sound familiar? They tear it all down to rebuild it. Now everyone is equal and has access to the same medical care. The greedy doctors and the greedy rich can no longer have the best of this system. The system is gone. The private clinics are gone.
The doctors are no longer the best and the brightest but are chosen but virtue of status in the Soviet system. Yes, some animals were more equal than others. Enrollees into medical school were chosen by social class —worker, peasant, or intellectual. Not long after the Soviet affirmative action system was expanded to include gender and ethnic classifications also. Every class, gender, and ethnic group had a quota for admission into institutions of higher learning.
All this should be sounding very, very familiar by now. Very familiar.
Rather than choosing a physician, you were appointed to medical facilities in your area. You had no choice who you saw. Instead of the market dictating salaries and medical expenditures, they were now part of a fixed budget expense in the Soviet balance sheet. Doctors were put on fixed state salaries and required to see as many people as they saw fit or didn't see fit. What did it matter anyway? Getting rid of a bad doctor or a drunk doctor was virtually impossible in the now completely unionized, state owned system.
Did the Bolsheviks or their class of elites use this medical system? Ofcourse not. They had access to their own, special medical care complete with western technologies and medicines. They were not going to be subjected to the low par and filthy conditions of the people's system. As a side note, our leadership does not even give the pretense of pretending to subject themselves to the system they are forcing upon us.
No Soviet citizen really knew much else. As a closed society, they were told they had the best of the best. They were told how fortunate they were because the American capitalist system had people dying in the streets. Those that knew better were either disposed of or kept their mouths shut to avoid being disposed of.
In short, by the end of the 20th century Soviet Russia had one of the poorest medical systems in the world. Now imagine the Soviet medical system in a world where say it could only be held up in comparison the the DHS in Britain or the Canadian system? Suddenly the bar is much lower and that is by design. One day it will be our children who believe they are receiving the best of the best and there will be nothing exceptional to compare with the substandard. It will be the norm if this is not stopped and, as was often the case in our history, it is the cognizant 30 percent among us that are the last vestige.
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