Citing the threat of Ebola spreading further domestically, the largest labor union for registered nurses in the United States called on Obama to “invoke his executive authority” to commandeer hospitals and essentially declare himself to be medical dictator.
In a letter to the president, the National Nurses United group, which has faced controversy for its radical activism in the past, called on Obama to “order” all U.S. hospitals to meet “uniform, national standards and protocols” under the guise of protecting patients, healthcare workers, and the public. However, aside from the fact that Obama has no such “executive authority,” critics say forcing all hospitals to follow the same dubious standards is the worst possible idea if protecting people is truly the goal.
Amid its demands for more lawless tyranny to fight Ebola, the controversial Big Labor group for nurses — an affiliate of the extreme AFL-CIO that openly supported the Occupy Wall Street movement — also seized the opportunity to attack what little remains of the free market in America’s healthcare system. “In a nation that is handcuffed by a fragmented, uncoordinated privately-run health care industry, only a direct mandate from the President or Congress to order hospitals to implement the highest possible standards and protocols will suffice to attack and eradicate the threat of Ebola in the U.S.,” claimed NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro in a statement. The press release failed to point out that Obama has no legitimate power to “mandate” or “order” hospitals around — let alone the knowledge or experience.
Commenting on Obama’s appointment of a controversial lawyer to serve as the administration’s “Ebola Czar,” the nurses’ union “welcomed” the appointment, but said it was not enough. “What we need is a real czar to assure public safety, not a communicator, and the power to cut the hospitals’ Medicare and Medicaid funding if they still refuse to adhere to those standards and leave their patients, nurses and other caregivers at extreme risk,” union boss DeMoro, who also serves as vice president of the AFL-CIO, continued in a statement. The nurses group is also circulating a petition calling on Obama to invoke non-existent “executive authority to mandate uniform, national standards and protocols.” It was not clear what section or “penumbras” of the U.S. Constitution the radical labor leaders believed grant Obama any authority to commandeer hospitals.
In the letter to Obama, announced on October 15 and widely celebrated by the Communist Party USA and other totalitarian fringe elements, DeMoro, who is not actually a nurse, outlined a broad list of demands. “Not one more patient, nurse, or healthcare worker should be put at risk due to a lack of health care facility preparedness,” she wrote. “The United States should be setting the example on how to contain and eradicate the Ebola virus.” Among other demands, DeMoro said Obama should force “every healthcare employer” to “follow the Precautionary Principle” and institute a long list of policies detailed in the letter. Those include personal protective gear for Ebola that meets the standards used by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, hazmat suits that meet various standards, at least two nurses for each Ebola patient, continuous “interactive training,” and much more.
“The Ebola pandemic and the exposure of health care workers to the virus represent a clear and present danger to public health,” DeMoro added in the letter. “We know that without these mandates to health care facilities we are putting registered nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers at extreme risk. They are our first line of defense. We would not send soldiers to the battlefield without armor and weapons. In conclusion, not one more patient, nurse, or healthcare worker should be put at risk due to a lack of health care facility preparedness.... Nothing short of your mandate that optimal standards apply is acceptable to the nurses of this nation.”
Of course, Obama hardly needs any encouragement when it comes to usurping authority — his administration has trampled on Congress, the Constitution, and the states more than any other in recent memory on everything from gun rights and “climate change” to amnesty for illegal immigrants and war powers. When it comes to Ebola, Obama — or President Obola, as critics are now calling him — has already defied his oath of office on numerous occasions as well. Purporting to authorize the deployment of thousands of U.S. troops in West Africa without congressional approval, for example, is a blatant violation of the Constitution. So is showering huge sums of taxpayer funds appropriated for other uses on unsavory regimes and organizations under the pretext of combating a virus.
The executive branch, citing unconstitutional “executive orders” and statutes, already purports to have wild dictatorial powers to deal with diseases — including mandatory quarantines of “well” persons who show no symptoms, the ability to declare what amounts to medical martial law, and more. Now, Obama’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Defense Department are drawing up even more anti-constitutional schemes for the “Homeland” under the guise of fighting Ebola. Some of those plans involve potentially forcing Americans to submit to coercive and experimental medical “treatments” at the barrel of a government gun.
“As the epidemic gets more and more formidable and in some cases out of control it is quite conceivable, if not likely, that we may need to deploy the vaccine to the entire country to be able to shut the epidemic down,” claimed Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health. “That is clearly a possibility.” Obama’s Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, meanwhile, is also drawing up plans to have military forces support “civil authorities” if “public health authorities” deem it appropriate.
Bosses at the nurses’ union and even bureaucrats at the various federal health agencies might be forgiven for their poor understanding of constitutional principles. However, Obama, who purports to be a former professor of constitutional law, has no excuse to defy the oath he swore on a Bible to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution grants all legislative powers to Congress and none to the president. He knows that. The document also grants no power to the federal government over hospitals. Therefore, the responsibility falls to either state governments, hospitals themselves, or the people. Obama has absolutely no authority to mandate “standards.”
Even if he had such power, it would be unwise to use it. Economics 101 students understand well that competition protects workers and consumers far better than even well-intentioned government decrees. This applies to health, safety, prices, quality, and more. Ever wonder why breakthroughs in medicine never come from places like North Korea, Cuba, or Zimbabwe? Indeed, ironically, the most successful effort to control Ebola thus far appears to have come from a private company in Liberia. Firestone, which operates a massive rubber-tree plantation with 80,000 people in the Ebola-stricken nation, managed to stop the deadly virus in its tracks even as the epidemic rages all around the vast farm.
Meanwhile, considering the widespread criticism of the CDC’s existing guidelines and recommendations, unconstitutionally forcing every hospital in the United States to follow half-baked decrees could be a recipe for a disaster of monumental proportions. Ironically, again, the Ebola-stricken nurse who flew on an airplane had consulted with CDC prior to the flight and was told that travelling was fine. Its guidelines for face masks have also been blasted as a prescription for the further spread of Ebola. And these are the same bureaucrats that Big Labor bosses purporting to speak for nurses want to see seize control over the policies of every hospital in the United States.
Medical professionals, though, are speaking out. “It should be clear to all by now that federal bureaucracies are either too corrupt, politicized, or incompetent to fulfill their core missions,” explained Dr. Richard Amerling, the president-elect of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, who also serves as a professor of clinical medicine and academic nephrologist at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. “The purpose of bureaucracies is to continually expand their payroll, budgets, and missions to the point of becoming massive, inefficient, and deadly. The federal government is institutionally incapable of protecting the citizenry. We will have to take care of ourselves if we want to survive. Waiting for more CDC directives and guidelines is worse than counterproductive.”
Not only are liberty and competition a far better plan to spur innovation and the best possible safety standards for workers and the public alike, the federal government has proven over and over again that it is not to be trusted — especially on matters of life and death. Rather than allowing Obama to declare himself medical dictator at the behest of radical Big Labor bosses, Americans should continue to demand that he follow the U.S. Constitution on Ebola and everything else. As former congressman and medical doctor Ron Paul recently explained, liberty, not government, is the key to containing Ebola.
Photo of President Obama: AP Images