One of the fears of those who have fought so long and hard against socialized medicine is that access to medical services will be rationed or prioritized and favored groups or classes will get more, better, and faster services than others.

Discussions along this line took place when “Obama Care” was being debated with supporters denying that such a thing could ever take place or that rationing would occur resulting in certain groups being denied treatment. “I’m sorry Mr. Lengemann but you are over 80 years old and have more than used your fair share of government benefits. You are not eligible for prostate cancer treatment. Go home, take two aspirin tablets and have a good life.”

Over the years I have seen several people become alcoholics. It is never something that occurs quickly. A person does not graduate from one drink a week to one fifth a day. Instead, it creeps up, one baby step at a time and then you see the person who had one drink at week at age 20 drinking one fifth a day at age 50. How did that happen? Gradual increases usually go unnoticed. The victim thinks this is only just a bit more than I have been drinking, but that bit more is substantially more that what was consumed 10 years earlier.

I am wondering if we are not seeing something similar with the prioritizing of the vaccines for the COVID virus. The media touts the wisdom of providing the vaccine first to doctors, nurses, and others on the frontline of fighting the virus. It is hard to argue with that, but it is a step in saying these persons are more important than the 80-year-old retired schoolteacher or the 70-year-old working pharmacist. In my opinion, it is a step towards acclimatizing the public to accept a most favored status for certain groups and individuals in receiving medical benefits.

Is this method of rationing the first doses of the vaccine the camel’s nose in the tent? I am waiting to see if congressmen, senators, governors, and others of the “ruling class” can get the vaccine sooner than the public. I may be cynical, but my guess is like “essential businesses” they will deem themselves “essential leaders,” entitled to a high priority to receive inoculation.

Politicians and their fellow travelers should stand in line like everyone else. If they do not, we will have a foreshadowing of how universal health care will function.

—John Lengemann,
Imlay City