Green Room

Obama: To Save Healthcare, I must Impugn the Motives of those who Provide It

posted at 11:02 pm on July 22, 2009 by

At the end of his primetime press conference, President Obama was asked whether national health care would lead to reduced service and whether doctors would continue to make health care decisions. After a bit of rambling, Obama said this:

Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. So if they’re looking and you come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, the doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, “You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.”

Earlier today, my wife and I visited the offices of a pediatric surgeon. We were there to get a surgical consult for my younger daughter, who was born with an umbilical hernia. Basically, it’s a condition in which the intestine sticks out through a small hole in the abdominal muscles. It’s not life-threatening, but does sometimes require surgery to repair.

The doctor who examined my daughter did profit from our visit, but could have made a lot more money if she had recommended surgery. She did not. The doctor told us that the hernia would most likely resolve itself in a few years and that there was nothing to worry about, which came as an incredible relief to me and my wife. The thought of my daughter under anesthesia and the knife is terrifying. The doctor made a decision based on her experience and medical judgment, not on whether she would financially benefit. Little did I know that her decision would preemptively disprove a presidential statement.

My wife works in the healthcare industry, and when I showed her the video of Obama’s statement, she reacted with incredulity, because she knows the truth – those in healthcare work hard to earn the RN behind their name or the Dr. in front of it. The vast majority of them do not do so because of the paycheck they’ll earn, but because they know their work will help save or improve the lives of others. When the president suggested otherwise, he slandered the motives of every doctor and nurse who treats patients on a daily basis.

And for what? To support his ideological belief that government should pay for health care. In short, to save health care he has to demean the motives of those who provide it.

Nice work, Mr. President.

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