Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ralston: Obamacare's Attack on Doctors

The July 17, 2009 Orange County Register published the following OpEd by Richard Ralston (executive director of Americans for Free Choice in Medicine) entitled, "Obamacare's Attack on Doctors".

Ralston makes two important points:
...The first and most obvious is that reform advocates in government want the legal power to prevent doctors from deciding "what medical or surgical treatments are needed." They think that role must be reserved for politicians and government officials. Physicians must not be allowed to prescribe a drug if the government decides it helps only some but not all patients and is thus not "comparatively effective."
Second, Ralston also highlights:
...[T]he attempt to disarm doctors morally and politically so they will do what they are told. Any attempt to protect their ability to practice medicine as they think best will just prove that they are greedy profiteers, like businessmen. Anyone who makes a living or runs a profitable business that does not need to be bailed out by the government may be condemned.

Conversely, greed for power is a saintly virtue for those who want to instruct physicians how to run their practices.

From other quarters we hear arguments that doctors should just do what they are told and accept what the government pays them, even if it does not cover their costs, because they owe us all for their medical education. Never mind the huge debts with which most MD's graduate from medical school. Never mind the long years and long hours of medical education and internship. If they went to a public school, never mind the taxes their parents paid to support it. If the government gives you an education, these politicians say that you owe that government your life. Are we now discovering the true purpose of government-controlled education?
(Read the rest of "Obamacare's Attack on Doctors".)

If physicians lose their freedom to practice according to their own best judgment for the benefit of their patients, both patients and physicians will lose.

(For another good piece on the double-speak being thrown about by supporters of Obamacare, see Ralston's July 5, 2009 OpEd, "Paging Dr. Orwell".)