Doctors Tell Congress: Just Stop It

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The 2,000-page “Obamacare” agenda is stalled, but some want to try to jump-start “reform.” Republicans introduced a 200-page substitute for H.R. 3962, which failed on a vote of 176 to 258. Now the President plans to meet with Republican congressional leaders.

“A bipartisan clunker is still a clunker,” says George Watson, D.O., President of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). “We say junk the clunker.”

It’s not the health care system that is broken, stated Mark Kellen, M.D., immediate past president of AAPS. “Government is broken,” he said.

Not only that: government is broke.

The third-party-payment system certainly needs reform, AAPS believes. Government needs to enable cross-state purchase of insurance, association plans, expanded health savings accounts, and equal tax treatment of individually owned policies.

Republicans promote some of these good ideas, but they need to be in simple stand-alone bills, not packaged with hundreds of pages that could hide a lot of lemons.

As the AMA said in the 1950s but has apparently forgotten, “The voluntary way is the American way.”

Insurance is a voluntary risk-sharing contract. But Congress is trying to “fix” it by forcing Americans to buy, or insurance companies to sell only products meeting government mandates.

Electronic records, prevention, wellness incentives, and other measures might offer great benefits. And if they do, people will choose them freely. Why force the government way on Americans from the top down? The very fact of closed-door meetings with special-interest groups should answer that question.

So far, the healthcare nondebate has been an appalling case of governmental malpractice. It’s time to have a sober discussion of real problems and solutions—instead of endless platitudes and posturing, frantic arm-twisting, back-door deal-making, and midnight Christmas Eve votes.

Instead of trying to “transform” American medicine, Washington should set its own house in order. That’s where the real emergency is.

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  • Kenneth Bergman MD

    I agree. The Democratic bills MUST be set aside and a new start made toward improving the system in a thoughtful, meticulous, open manner. Unfortunately, I do not believe that the Democrats can function in such an environment. They just don’t get it.

  • Greg

    I agree with the above also. Unfortunately the socialism “cyanide” pill is being forced down everyone’s throat.

  • “Electronic records, prevention, wellness incentives, and other measures might offer great benefits. And if they do, people will choose them freely. Why force the government way on Americans from the top down?” I very much agree with this assessment (but having the Perspective anonymously written reduces its potential persuasive power).

    I will offer some additional thoughts regarding a major factor in the problems of doctors and clients/patients trying to voluntarily interact to mutual benefit in a government controlled environment. As long as government licensure is accepted as proper and desirable for the practice of any “trade”, including medicine, then government interference, into what the voluntarily transacting parties want, will continue. The government at some level and in some manner (usually indirectly through appointed “agencies” and legal institutions), urged on by trade/professional groups in most cases, dictates what the “standards” will be, and anyone not so performing can be charged with violating some law. The desires of the transacting parties are thereby made immaterial. Also, an individual can never be sure whether s/he is in “violation” of these “standards” since such government regulations are notoriously vague and ambiguous (it gives the government much more power to have it that way); additionally, preferential treatment is a hallmark of such government regulations (and the ambiguity enables easy escape from such accusations). A guarded, if not actually adversarial, relationship of all to all is the result of such government interference, rather than easy cooperation for exchange to mutual benefit, which is the hallmark of a really free society. This is always the end result of any “democratic” approach by any group – novel approaches and methods by individual members are squelched in favor of the entrenched majority.

    “It’s time to have a sober discussion of real problems and solutions—instead of endless platitudes and posturing, frantic arm-twisting, back-door deal-making, and midnight Christmas Eve votes.” Agreed, once again.

    I would like to see some serious discussion and real consideration, whether or not by AAPS members, regarding the possible existence and potential characteristics (with great variations likely depending on the abilities and desires of each doctor and patient/client) of the desired doctor-client/patient relationship *without* any government licensure. Only in this manner will there ever be a serious reconsideration of the wisdom and desirability of such licensure. And note that no government licensure does not imply that there could not still be different kinds of standards to which different doctors adhere, even as there are now, outside of government (Institute for Functional Medicine, American College for Advancement in Medicine (ACAM), ASTM International (ASTM, formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials), the various medical specialty boards (ABMS) to the extent that they are not an arm of government, as just a few examples). If sufficient numbers of doctors demanded that government licensure be abolished (just as they did long ago demand that it be instituted, then I think this could actually be done. (BTW, the basis for such a society where members all freely interact to mutual benefit and self-order themselves without the presence of rulers/government is, “Social Meta-Needs: A New Basis for Optimal Interaction” – http://selfsip.org/fundamentals/socialmetaneeds.html )

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