Docs 4 Patient Care is a group of doctors who are fighting fiercely to repeal Obamacare, or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). For months now, they have been quietly waging war against socialized medicine without much help or recognition. However, on July 27th, Dr. Mark Neerhof (a member of Doctors 4 Patient Care) sparred with Dr. Arnold Widen (a doctor in favor of Obamacare) in a no holds barred debate on a Chicago radio station that was moderated by Milton Rosenberg.
Dr. Neerhof comes out swinging in the beginning of the debate by pounding the other side with a plethora of facts. Specifically, Dr. Neerhof uses Massachusetts as a template for the perils of socialized medicine, since government run health care in MA is now proving to be a disastrous idea.
Neerhof begins by pointing out the following facts--
*Obamacare is destructive to the overall quality of health care.
*MA now has the highest health insurance premiums in the country.
*MA now has the longest wait times to see a doctor (in Boston it is now 70 days to see an OBGYN, whereas it used to be 40 days).
*MA has experienced an enormous increase in volume in the ER since they've instituted government run health care.
*Eighteen out of thirty-four million Americans that the PPACA now covers will simply be placed on Medicaid, which will drown the states in debt. (IL is already almost bankrupt.)
*Obamacare is destined to fail. Three quarters of insurers in MA are, now, going bankrupt and are begging to increase their rates--it is the only way that they can afford to cover people with pre-existing conditions that didn't buy insurance ahead of time.
Then, in closing out his argument, Dr. Neerhof agrees that health care reform is necessary, but states that it is a lie that 45 million Americans are now uninsured. Dr. Neerhof points out that 37% of those uninsured make over $50,000 a year and could easily afford to buy health insurance if they wanted it. Furthermore, Neerhof explains that 20% of those 45 million are illegal immigrants, and 33% are eligible for some kind of government programs (like SCHIPS or Medicaid). In other words, there are only between 10-15 million Americans that are uninsured and truly can't afford to buy health insurance. (Later in the debate, Dr. Neerhof suggests using high risk pools subsidized by the government to deal with these truly needy Americans.)
Now, it should interest one to know that Dr. Neerhof's assertions about the true number of Americans that can't afford health insurance is backed up by this very interesting Reason TV video below, that cites a Johns Hopkins University study.
After Dr. Neerhof finished his opening remarks, Milton Rosenberg (the moderator) asked Dr. Arnold Widen if Obamacare was "spreading the wealth around". Dr. Widen responded by freely admitting that Obamacare was "spreading the wealth around"--and surprisingly, this turned out to be his least shocking comment. Dr. Widen then proceeded to filibuster with a rant of collectivist sounding Obamaisms such as "health care is a human right"..."the health care bill doesn't go far enough and we really need a public option"...."I really want a single payer system like Britain or Canada"....."rationed care is the only way to control costs"...."Obamacare is a tax, but that isn't germane and you don't have the option not to buy health insurance".....and my all time favorite far-leftist rationalization from Dr. Widen in favor of Obamacare---
"The federal government has every right to mandate that you buy health insurance and if you are against it, then you are against public health."
Really???!!!! Thanks so much for that clarification Dr. Widen. I didn't realize that I was "against public health" (especially since I have a master's degree in public health). Since you think that the federal government knows what's best for me with regard to my own health care, what other aspects of my life do you think that the federal government should control? Please, please, share--I am all ears. But, I digress.
When Dr. Neerhof finally got the chance to respond to Dr. Widen (Dr. Widen filibustered for so long that Mr. Rosenberg had to remind him that there was "an equal time requirement"), he laid out an excellent six point battle plan to reform health care that would suit the majority of Americans much better than Obamacare would.
1.) Tort Reform (Obamacare has nothing about tort reform in it.)
2.) Portability or being able to buy insurance over state lines (which I can personally attest can save one thousands of dollars--more on this later.)
3.) Tax breaks going to individuals instead of employers so health care is not tied to your job.
4.) High risk pools subsidized by the government for people with pre-existing conditions that are too expensive to insure.
5.) Small business pools.
6.) Health savings accounts.
Finally, Dr. Widen closes out the debate by fallaciously stating how popular single payer systems are in Canada and Britain (yeah, that's why anyone who can afford to comes to the US for major surgery).
Now, before I proceed to poke holes in Dr. Widen's argument about how beloved the single payer system is in Britain and Canada, I would like to share something with you all. As some of my regular readers are aware, last fall I was diagnosed with chronic Guillain Barre' or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (or CIDP), which is an autoimmune disease where you make antibodies that attack the myelin sheath of your nerves. (It is similar to MS, but MS attacks the central nervous system whereas CIDP attacks the peripheral nervous system). I have previously written in great detail about my illness. (Furthermore, last spring, I was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Prinzmetal's angina--if you get one autoimmune disease, it's easy to develop another one.)
I was treated with intravenous immunoglobulins, or IVIG for my CIDP. How is this relevant to the subject matter at hand? Simple. I was living in Atlanta, GA during my first dose of IVIG, and I had Blue Cross of Georgia who stated that it would cost me a $5000 per treatment co-pay (or a grand total of $30,000, because I was to be treated with IVIG for six months). Well, when it was time for my second dose of IVIG, I had already moved to Charleston, SC, and thus was going through Blue Cross of South Carolina. Now, Blue Cross of SC told me that I would only have to make one payment of $1200 for the entire six months of treatment with IVIG (one treatment with IVIG costs $30.000 out of pocket). In other words, I saved over $25,000 by moving from GA to SC--so anyone who tells you that being allowed to buy health insurance over state lines won't help bring down health care costs is at best uninformed, and at worst, outright lying. Now, I realize that to ideological liberals, like Dr. Widen, unicorn farts, pixie dust and big government, airy Obamaisms sound like the answer to solving our health care crisis. However, I would be willing to bet that real Americans are interested in solutions that will save them over $25,000, instead of more kitten whiskers and feel good, big brother ideology.
By the way, why don't we take a look at Dr. Widen's claim that socialized medicine is "popular" in England and Canada. Well, John Stossel did an in-depth report about both countries health care systems (see embed below), and he begs to differ (and so do the doctors from those two countries). For example, health care rationing has gotten so bad in England, that some people pull their own teeth (they use vodka and a pair or pliers). Acutely ill people wait at least 23 hours to be admitted to the hospital, some towns in Canada hold a monthly lottery to see who will get a family physician, and people in England and Canada wait an average of six months to see a neurologist--and then six more months for an MRI. This fact hit me particularly hard, because A.) I didn't have to wait six days for my neurologist to get me an MRI, and B.) because I could have wound up severely debilitated if I had had to wait that long for a diagnosis and treatment (now, I am a recent medical school graduate who is planning on starting her residency in a year or two).
Oh, but there is a silver lining here. There is a clinic in Canada where you can get an MRI or a CT scan the day after you injure yourself--you just have to walk on four legs for this clinic to see you.
Furthermore, British Parliament member, Daniel Hannan, told Glenn Beck pretty similar horror stories about the British National Health Service or NHS. Mr. Hannan explained that you are "immediately sent to the back of the cue" and that, even if you are in severe pain, they won't let you pay for pain medication--you must just sit and wait for hours in pain. Hannan went on to explain that the average wait time for a knee replacement is twelve months, surgery for a herniated disc is five months, and cataract surgery is eight months. Not to mention, if you can't work during this waiting period, then you are losing income. (So much for the whole "free health care" thingy.) Then Mr. Hannan added the following--
"The worst thing to be in our system is elderly".
Moreover, Mr. Hannan explained that health care is the single biggest item of the government budget, and that the NHS is the third largest employer in the world (it employs 1.4 million people). Not to mention, most of the employees aren't doctors or nurses--they are administrators. In other words, if we in the US get something like the NHS, there's no undoing it. We're stuck with it for good.
So, in conclusion, I realize that some of this might be hard for our leftist friends to digest. They just aren't into those pesky facts--they much prefer pixie dust and "Yes we can!". However, that is why it is so important to keep fighting this health care battle by getting our message out. We have to bombard the American people with all of the facts so that they can make an educated choice with regard to this matter, and not get suckered in by "Hope and Change" again. And, Docs 4 Patient Care are just the warriors that we need on our side to help us win the war of ideas when it comes to health care/repealing Obamacare. Their website is right here if you are able to make a contribution to their fight. But at the very least, let's all try to email the link to their website out and spread the word to as many people as we can via Tea Party, internet, family gatherings, etc. Remember, we don't want the same people who run our DMV to run our health care system. Some things in life are worth fighting for.
PS--Docs 4 Patient Care has endorsed the following candidates for supporting the group's fight to repeal Obamacare--
Dr. Dan Benishek (1st District, Michigan)
Mo Brooks (5th District, Alabama)
Christiana Jeffrey (4th District, South Carolina)
Dr. Deborah Honeycutt (13th District, Georgia)
Dr. Chris Salvino (5th District, Arizona)
Carly Fiorina (Senate, California)
Joe Miller (Senate, Alaska) Pending Approval by vetting committee