20 August, 2009

An actual surgeon comments on health care

An orthopedic surgeon comments in the Washington Post on health care and the rhetoric surrounding it. A revealing question from the article:

Why would President Obama blast pediatricians for doing tonsillectomies for profit, when any intelligent person knows that pediatricians do not do surgery?
Actually, I didn't know that pediatricians don't do surgery, so I must not be intelligent. That aside, I find it amazing that after seven months of the current administration, the surgeon does not seem to have detected the president's complete detachment from reality. This is neither the first nor the last occasion that the president has said something without knowing the facts. In some matters, he has even admitted to pronouncing judgment without knowing all the facts. One half wishes we had an older, wiser, more sober individual in the Presidency these days—but hey, at least Sarah Palin didn't become Vice President!!! What a close call we had there!*

Another excellent question in the article,
At your next visit to your specialist, take a tip from the drug company ads and "ask your doctor": …Does he or she plan to continue to participate with Medicare/Medicaid or participate with insurers that will not reimburse adequately?
I actually happen to know the answer to this without asking. I recently made an appointment as a new patient with a family doctor at a local, major clinic. The doctors there are excellent and serious; they take their time and don't hurry through appointments. This is one of my criteria for sending my wife and children to any doctor; in fact, I switched them away from another local clinic that was, quite frankly, incompetent.

When I made my appointment, the receptionist asked, Are you on Medicare or Medicaid? Uhm, no, I answered. Would that be a problem?

We don't accept Medicare or Medicaid patients, she told me.

Oh? Why not?

I don't know. It's a decision the doctors made.

Coincidentally, the other clinic accepted Medicare and Medicaid. I have no idea if that has anything to do with it, but the surgeon implies that it does.

*Seriously, if you replace "Obama" by "Bush" in that sentence, the sentence takes on a sudden menace, and the news media would be falling over themselves to tut-tut the sorry state of the electorate for putting such a buffoon into office. With the change of one name, routine gaffes such as this (one hesitates out of charity to describe them as "lies") are not even swept under the rug; they are simply ignored as if they don't exist. If you doubt me, think of Sarah Palin's reference to the president's "death panels."

That's alright. The president himself pronounces that he isn't "dissing" surgeons (or pediatricians, I suppose). If he says it, it must be true!

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