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As Long as We Remember...

August 21, 2009

Where’s the honey, Mr. President?

Joe Charlebois

President Barack Obama is doing a great job of burning bridges these days. Every speech, town hall, or press conference is laced with negatives. Since the campaign ended – some would say it hasn’t – the Obama Administration has been criticizing nearly every free market institution that drives our American nation.


This could be one of the chief reasons that we see an enormous drop in his popularity and public confidence since he took the oath of office.


Recently, he has raised his scope and taken aim at those who are offering their public support. In the great healthcare debate the president has accepted the endorsements of the House bill H.R. 3200 by healthcare workers associations including the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA) – both in July.


Even though the AMA is still in support of this bill, one should know that the AMA is representative of only 25% of physicians nationwide and there is nowhere nearly unanimity among the ranks. In fairness other smaller physician groups also support the plan while still other groups are in opposition.


How does Mr. Obama thank physicians for their support? He slanders them.


In making a push for preventative care and in particular the treatment of diabetes, the president states that physicians would rather disregard the Hippocratic Oath and excise the damaged limbs affected for a quick $40,000.


“…if that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that's $30,000, $40,000, $50,000 immediately the surgeon is reimbursed. But why not make sure that we're also reimbursing the care that prevents the amputation? Right? That will save us money.”


Not only is this statement inflammatory and counterproductive, but it is dead wrong. There are no significant fees that the surgeon is reimbursed for such treatment. In fact, if a surgeon were to receive fees, it would be in order of $750 to $1,000 (according to Medicare reimbursement fee schedule). Now, it is true that according to the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association the overall costs of a procedure may cost upwards of $30,000 to $40,000, but that includes fees associated with the hospital, post-operative care, the physician’s reimbursement fee as well as the fees for the other specialists associated with the surgery.


Not only does the president paint the general, orthopedic and podiatric surgeons with the broad brush of greed by stating that they would amputate limbs for quick cash, but pediatricians and otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat) have been attacked as caring more about their wallets than their patients too. This is what he said about them:


“So if they're looking and – 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.’ "


What experience has Mr. Obama had with physicians to make such a gross distortion in reality? Why does Mr. Obama have such an extreme distrust of physicians’ motives for entering the practice of medicine? Since the focus is on money one can only assume that this is a blanket attack by the president on what he perceives as a vocation that is unworthy of the fees they charge or the salaries that they make.


This mildly transparent attack on wealth is no different than other attacks on the wealthy. This is just a further expose of the radical left’s attempt to create resentment and envy by demonizing those who succeed or attain wealth. They continue to portray those who attain wealth as having come to their place in life by ill-gotten means, or at the expense of the middle-class and poor.


Physicians are not the monsters that the president portrays them to be. They are not butchers. Every physician knows that any surgery is a potential life threatening procedure. The risks associated with surgery outweigh any of the potential benefits that a fattened wallet can give.


Should Mr. Obama want to win over the public on this – or any debate – he needs to stop attacking hard working Americans that make it work so effectively.


Vinegar may kill bacteria, mold and germs but you’ll catch no flies with it. Mr. Obama, as someone who claims to want to unite the country, you cannot do that by serving vinegar at your next summit.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
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