A Republican responds…

As I walked through the labor and delivery unit, a short-cut to my office, I laughed out loud as I read this email.  It is from a good friend, who is a prominent attorney, bike racer and Republican.  It was in response to my recent post using electrophysiology examples to show that health care costs continue to spiral northward, and that I liked the president’s work ethic.

DrJohnM:  “He considers both sides of a debate. In drawing the line in the sand, in taking a stand–on health-care reform–he puts himself at substantial political risk. Additionally, as we cyclists say, the man is on the gas; he is working really hard. Nearly every day he is out there in his suit and tie making news. To me, hard work and taking a stand on a controversial matter are admirable qualities in a leader.”

Friend:

This is a great way to start the day– with a complete side-stitch after laughing myself silly! “both sides of the debate”? Overwhelming opposition to his healthcare monstrosity didn’t even phase him. Full speed ahead. “working really hard”? GET REAL. He has played golf 34 times since he was president — a rate something like 9 or 10 times as often as George Bush. “Suit and tie nearly every day”? Really? It seems like he almost never wears a tie, except on the frequent occasions that he finds himself bowing to a foreign king or dictator. I mean, honestly, the guy wears a tie less often than I do, and that takes effort. Here he is just yesterday in a big event, as usual without a tie. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/27/AR2010042703852.html. But to the larger point of how hard he works, there just isn’t any basis on which you can say that he works harder than anyone else who held the office in the last 50 years. It’s just Obamamania revealing itself. I recommend a sedative, and perhaps a powerful antibiotic. And he isn’t out making news so much as he is out manipulating the news. Is it a coincidence that the SEC springs a big complaint on Goldman Sachs a few days before the Congress takes up the Wall Street bill, and Congress schedules it’s Wall Street hearings? Of course not. It’s manufactured news. If he were “out there working hard” he would actually be doing what he claimed he would do all along, and deal with the economy, not watch the unemployment rate stay mired in double digits while he takes another vacation (to Hawaii, to NYC, to North Carolina, to Camp David…is the guy EVER in the White House?). If he had been working hard, would it have taken him 4 or 5 months to get around to meeting with the General responsible for Afghanistan? Or making a decision that affects the lives of young men and women in uniform every day? Honestly, if GWB had been so cavalier with his schedule and let so much big stuff be ignored while he pursued his narcissistic goal of wrecking the American healthcare industry, he would have been crucified. 

Now I need a sedative…..One final point:

After waxing poetic about the hard-working, tie-wearing, both-sides-considering, news-making Obama, you note this amazing piece of news:

DrJohnM:  “That said, as a doctor in the mix, one of my major issues with the healthcare law is its omission in addressing the spiraling costs of health care. As said recently in the NY Times…

In his report, sent to Congress Thursday night, Mr. Foster (CMS) said that some provisions of the law, including cutbacks in Medicare payments to health care providers and a tax on high-cost employer-sponsored coverage, would slow the growth of health costs. But he said the savings “would be more than offset through 2019 by the higher health expenditures resulting from the coverage expansions.”Even the chief actuary of CMS tells us that cutting doctors reimbursement and taxing high cost plans will not offset the 30 million new patients who expect the same quality of care as those presently in the system. “

Friend:

Isn’t it funny that just a month ago, Obama and his cronies in Congress foisted a massive hijacking of the healthcare industry on the nation on the premise that it would lower the costs and reduce the deficit over ten years, when a few weeks later CMS comes out and says, ‘uh, no it won’t”. THIS IS A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF MY CRITICISMS. OBAMA KNEW THE BILL WOULD NOT REDUCE COSTS. INDEED, COULD NOT, FOR THE REASONS YOU MENTION. And yet he manipulated and manufactured the news to dupe the public about the reality simply for the sake of getting the lie passed into law. Sure, he considered both sides of the debate, right until he ignored everything that was said and all the facts, and cooked up a phony analysis by CBO that even his own HHS (via CMS) declared just a few weeks later was bogus.

Not much to admire here.

JMM

3 comments

  1. The genius of Obamacare becoming law is not in the details of the plan. Quite the opposite! The accomplishment of having any plan requires that congress must now address the issues rather than spend year after year in empty rhetoric with no intention of implementing any reform. Obama has forced cooperation by passing legislation that must be amended. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Obama took the first step when everyone else thought it could not be done.

  2. Paul,

    Thanks for writing.

    Like in many politically charged issues, I am conflicted. Maybe it's my medical training that makes me see the benefits of both sides of an issue. Each medical problem has a pro, a con and an alternative. The trouble with many in politics is that they seem so sure of the answer. Righteousness in the face of uncertainty scares me.

    I am glad that Mr Obama has started the journey.

    I hope that implementation of the plan spares the essence of quality care: the relationship of doctor and patient. So much non-clinical minutia gets in the way now. In the doctor's lounge, the prevailing prediction for the future of medicine is pessimistic.

    We shall see. I am glad to be in the mix.

    JMM

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