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A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943

Doctors Tell Congress: Just Stop It

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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