by Jane M. Orient, M.D.
My favorite bumper sticker for this campaign season is “Keep your doctor, change your senator.”
Monica Wehby, M.D., pediatric neurosurgeon, is trying to unseat a one-term Democrat in Oregon. Dr. Wehby has been very active in the American Medical Association, trying to change its pro-ObamaCare stance.
She is one of five women physicians running for Congress. Alieta Eck, M.D., an internist, is running for the House of Representatives in New Jersey. She is a past president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. Nan Hayworth, M.D., an ophthalmologist, is running for the House in New York, Annette Teijeiro, M.D., an anesthesiologist, is running in Nevada, and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D., an ophthalmologist, in Iowa. All are Republicans, and all are critical of ObamaCare.
Although the Administration’s unilateral changes in the law have postponed many painful features of ObamaCare until after the election, it is already very unpopular. The White House public relations/media juggernaut is in high gear to suppress the bad news and trumpet any benefits.
Millions more privately insured Americans will soon see their policies canceled; the individual mandate penalty/tax will kick in; the crushing burdens of new taxes on businesses, medical devices, and insurance premiums will reverberate through the already stalled economy; and more and more independent physicians will have to close their practices owing to new requirements.
Patients will not only lose their doctor, but increasingly will be treated according to rigid bureaucratic protocols, enforced through electronic surveillance, directed toward improving “population health,” not meeting their needs. They may have a “health care provider,” who may or may not have a medical degree, but they will not have a personal physician who knows them and cares about them.
Soon, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be dictating how much can be spent on your medical care.
With each passing month, ObamaCare becomes harder to uproot. And the direction of the Administration’s plunge into a centrally planned economy becomes harder to reverse. The President’s approval rating may be at an all-time low, but he seems willing to defy the wishes of the majority of working Americans.
There is only one hope for change in the agenda of Obama and the political elite: Congress.
And one person in our government has the power to thwart the will of the people’s House: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. He can prevent any bill from having a hearing or vote in the U.S. Senate. So far he has kept 300 bills bottled up, and squelched virtually all Republican amendments to bills that did come up. A repeal of the ObamaCare individual mandate, for example, would probably have zero chance of coming to the floor.
Why bother to call your senator, when he can’t even vote?
As long as the Democrats hold the majority in the Senate, Harry Reid will control the agenda. He can thus relieve Obama of the need to use his veto pen.
A vote for any Democrat for senator is in effect a vote for the one-man rule of Harry Reid in the Senate, who is a staunch supporter of the one-man rule of Barack Obama in the country.
The House of Representatives is of course important also. It has probably slowed the Obama agenda to some extent. It could do much more if it had the courage to use the power of the purse.
The outlook for the survival of representative government in this country is so dismal that lifelong Democrat and veteran talk show host Bob Just has called on Democrats to boycott the election. It’s the only way to wrest control of his party from radicals with a Marxist worldview, he believes.
“Our party leaders support, or at least tolerate, the use of Alinsky’s aggressive ‘no rules’ techniques against mainstream America–basic bullying strategies,” Just writes.
He recalls that not that long ago, the Democratic and Republican Parties had far more similarities than differences.
In this election, whatever the flaws and merits of individuals, party affiliation is much more critical than ever before.
And once candidates are elected to Congress, don’t let them forget who sent them there.
Jane M. Orient, MD obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. She completed an internal medicine residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital and University of Arizona Affiliated Hospitals and then became an Instructor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a staff physician at the Tucson Veterans Administration Hospital. She has been in solo private practice since 1981 and has served as Executive Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) since 1989. She is the author of YOUR Doctor Is Not In: Healthy Skepticism about National Healthcare , Sutton’s Law (a novel about where the money is in medicine today); and the second through fourth editions of Sapira’s Art and Science of Bedside Diagnosis, published by Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins. More than 100 of her papers have been published in the scientific and popular literature on a variety of subjects including risk assessment, natural and technological hazards and nonhazards, and medical economics and ethics.