MPNnow.com — On Oct. 5, President Obama made a speech in the White House Rose Garden to an audience of 50 white-coated doctors, one from each state. The doctors also represented a number of friendly medical organizations, including the American Medical Association (to which between 15 and 20 percent of medical professionals belong), the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Pediatrics and the National Medical Association.
Many of the event’s doctors were also members of the nonprofit organization Doctors for America, an outgrowth of Doctors for Obama, which worked to elect the president. Doctors for America also appears to work closely with Organizing for America, the president’s political organization.
President Obama pointedly introduced four doctors on the stage behind him, who represented, he said, “red states, blue states, recalcitrant states, high-cost states, low-cost states, rural and urban states.” One could get the impression from this well-orchestrated show of support that all doctors and professional medical associations are on board with the various health insurance reform proposals currently being debated by Congress.
One would be wrong.
A search of the internet reveals several organizations that include medical professionals as members but which also oppose government interference in the business between doctors and their patients; for example: Americans for Free Choice in Medicine, Docs4PatientCare, Association for American Physicians and Surgeons, the Benjamin Rush Society (Benjamin Rush was a physician and a signer of the Declaration of Independence), and the group Doctors on Strike for Freedom.
Many other professional sites include negative or cautionary statements. The famed Mayo Clinic advises, “If the ‘public plan’ means a government-run, price-controlled, Medicare-like insurance model, we do not support it because it has been shown over many years that such a model has not controlled costs and has punished doctors, hospitals and others that provide high-quality, affordable care.”
Dr. Gregory Garamoni, founder and executive director of Doctors on Strike (www.doctorsonstrike.com), states unequivocally, “Doctors, patients, and business owners all have the same inalienable individual rights recognized by the Declaration of Independence — the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The purpose of government is to secure our rights, not violate them. Our rights impose limitations on government.”
He continues, citing 10 ways individual rights would be violated if the health care bills now being crafted by congress were signed into law:
- Forcing people to buy health insurance.
- Forcing employers to provide health insurance for employees.
- Forcing one group (wealthy, soda-drinkers, etc.) to pay for the health insurance of another group.
- Forcing future generations to pay for the healthcare of the present generation.
- Forcing patients to participate in a government-run plan.
- Forcing doctors to participate in a government-run plan.
- Forcing hospitals and other healthcare providers to participate in a government-run plan.
- Forcing insurance companies to compete with a government-run plan.
- Forcing insurance companies to write policies that offer coverage for specific conditions.
- Forcing one group (older Americans on Medicare) to accept reduced benefits in order to fund other public health care plans.
The Doctors on Strike site has links to several online petitions, as well as links to make it easier to contact your congressional representatives. The Senate and House of Representatives must pass the same bill before the president can sign it into law, which he hopes to do by the end of the year. If you think your health is too important to be entrusted to anyone beside yourself and your doctor; if you think the implications of health reform are too far-reaching to rush into law; if you think health care can best be served by voluntary associations between free men — and not by a relationship of master to subject — contact your elected representatives now. Time is running out.
“Voices” is a regular feature offering insights and reflections from local residents. Send submissions to Managing Editor Kevin Frisch at 73 Buffalo St., Canandaigua, NY, 14424 or e-mail to [email protected].