"We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. … Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite." - President Eisenhower's Farewell address, 1961

In a COVID roundtable meeting last Monday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson rightly alluded to Ike's warning about the potential dangers in the burgeoning medical-industrial complex (MIC) and the resulting loss of freedoms. These warnings are prescient as the tyranny of public health – large and small – continues to pursue the death of freedom in our state and world. 

With the World Health Organization (WHO) seeking to gain complete authoritarian control of the planet's population in less than three months, there should be an outcry of opposition by all freedom loving peoples. Unfortunately our nation’s president – and the (MIC) – are not-so-subtly supporting the move. 

This same loss of freedoms is happening right now in the Alabama Legislature as the MIC, headed by the Hospital Association and its all too subservient Medical Association (MASA), force us further down this injurious and deadly path. Of the dozen or so “Big Mules” that run our state, none has wielded their power more brazenly – and destructively – the past four years than the Hospital Association. As more physicians are employed or semi-employed by hospital systems, we lose the important voice of the patient who encounters their provider outside the domain of the hospital. In essence, the state government should help reverse, not increase, the hospital-based system’s chokehold on healthcare.  

The Machiavellian techniques employed by the MIC were clearly on display this week on Goat Hill. Public health advocates were circling the wagons, having their protectors in the legislature present bad bills, one after the other. 

A clear example of this is the attempt to further protect the MIC via Sen. Tim Melson's (R-Florence) bill (SB128) to change the State Health Officer's (SHO) boss. Unlike Melson’s bill with its single sponsor, Sen. Sam Givhan's similar bill (SB74) has 13 co-sponsors. While SB74 is only a few pages and addresses the fundamental problem, SB128 is over 10 pages and gives the MIC more authority and control, requiring 10 physicians to be chosen from liberal entities in the MIC to sit on a State Committee of Public Health. Under this rule, the Academy of Pediatrics would get a seat, an organization that supports abortion and transgender transitioning for children. If legislators want to promote Alabama values, then they should make it so that board representatives are from places such as the American College of Pediatricians and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons instead. 

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth will make the call as to which bill will reach the floor. Let's hope that floor debate will expose the MIC's abuses, because that will lead to revisiting a major problem that both bills promote: the centralization of the SHOs power that began 10 years ago. Up until that time each county had their own health officer, but then-SHO Dr. Don Williamson (the current head of the Hospital Association) shepherded a change in the law requiring any county to pay for a full time county health officer (as is the case in Mobile and Jackson counties); otherwise, the duties fall to the SHO. 

Despite the catastrophic failures dictated by the CDC and WHO in recent years – and they apparently want to solidify more central control – imagine how much worse it will be for our state if we ever have a liberal governor like New York's! 

After their abject consistent failures over the past four years, the hubris of the MIC apparently knows no limit. Alabama’s Republican Legislature should punish the MIC for their injurious and deadly failures, not reward them. 

Avoiding responsibility is a common theme of the MIC, a fact recently exemplified by their demand to give broad immunity to IVF centers. The MIC forced the Alabama Legislature to deal urgently with a situation that the MIC itself created in IVF centers. In a bill that was written by UAB, the Alabama Legislature wasted a couple of days considering the MICs demand for broad immunity (including retroactive immunity!), seeking to prevent Chief Justice Tom Parker's encouragement for regulations to be established for IVF centers. The uproar and demands of the pro-abortion entities outside of our state and in the MIC should have been dealt with quickly and firmly – Senate Pro Tem Greg Reed (R-Jasper) should have immediately confirmed the sanctity of life as codified and moved on. The epitome of the MIC's hubris is clearly exposed when we realize that the medical director of the Mobile IVF center – the one at the heart of this current debate – is none other than the current president of MASA, Dr. George Koulianos.  

The clearest example of the control that the MIC has in our state is that the ADPH has no oversight by the legislature. Given the poor health outcomes in our state at the macro and micro levels, this fundamental issue needs to change in order to reduce the chokehold that Eisenhower warned us about.

Dr. Tankersley is a fourth-generation physician serving in the Montgomery area. He also served on three deployments in the U.S. Army’s Medical Corp, retiring in 2021 as a Colonel in the Alabama Army National Guard. In 2012, Gov. Robert Bentley appointed him to a five-year term on the Alabama Ethics Commission, and in 2020, Gov. Kay Ivey appointed him to the state’s vaccine working group. Besides being involved in church activities, Dr. Tankersley enjoys reading and spending time with his family. 

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819news.com

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