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Stopping “The Government Option”

Thursday, June 11, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The AMA finally got into the game this week, but not before defining itself in the eyes of most of its members as incredibly useless or worse-than-useless in the battle to stop the radical restructuring of American medicine. Doctors have to act on their own behalf and be their own activists as discussed below, though Docs4PatientCare.org is a great place for genuine M.D. activism to focus. The AMA’s very late entry into the debate is a CYA measure for association staff to point to when docs look up and see the destruction of their practices and the relationship with patients post-“government option.” The AMA will quickly fall back into the somnambulance that has defined it throughout 2009 as the left edge of the Democratic Congress has pushed forward the “government option,” which if passed will quickly swallow the private insurance industry and turn every M.D. into a de facto federal employee. Doctors have to remember it took the AMA until June 9 to announce opposition to the worst part of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid plan, long after any serious lobbying/education effort needed to be launched. But the AMA convention gets a visit from President Obama! Sort of like Notre Dame, with the leadership tossing its principles and constituents’ interests overboard for a photo shot with the big boss.

Some attention was given yesterday to the creation of nonprofit “cooperatives” to assist in the purchase of health insurance. If these cooperatives were not managed by the federal government, they would be a much preferred alternative to the “government option.”

In today’s Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove concludes that “[i]f Democrats enact a public-option health-insurance program, America is on the way to becoming a European-style welfare state.” Rove is right, and he goes on to provide five agreements against the massive though camouflaged take-over of health care via the “government option,” also known as “the public option.”

The focus of docs and other health care professionals as well as citizen activists has to be on the Blue Dog Democrats in the House and less than a dozen Democratic senators, most of whom face re-election in 2010. The first three calls should go to Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd, with the message to Dodd being especially blunt: If the “government option” comes out of the Senate, a check goes into your opponent Rob Simmons’ coffers. (Along with Baucus, Dodd is the most important senator in the crafting of this legislation.)

The contact info for the Blue Dogs in the House is here.

Senators can be reached via the Senate switchboard: 202-225-3121. Here are the ones to call after you call Senators Baucus, Conrad and Dodd:

Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln

New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand

Indiana’s Evan Bayh

North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan

Colorado’s Michael Bennet

Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter

Oregon’s Ron Wyden

Washington’s Patty Murray and

yes, Nevada’s Harry Reid. If Majority Leader Reid truns against the “government option,” it is dead.

Doctors need to call these offices via the Senate switchboard, 202-225-3121 and deliver the blunt message: The government option will cripple American medicine and anyone who supports it is an enemy of doctors and health care professionals.

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Covering Domestic Terrorism

Thursday, June 11, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Article6Blog notes the differences in the coverage of the Nazi fanatic attack on the Holocaust museum and the Muslim fanatic attack on the Arkansas recruiting depot.

Compare the amount of coverage of those two murders with that of George Tiller. Each killing was done by a fanatic for political reasons. Have they been treated equally, or has the weight of coverage telegraphed the political beliefs of the MSM as to what is the “most important” of the murders?

The “Government Option” Debate: Call Senators Baucus, Conrad and Dodd ASAP

Wednesday, June 10, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The New York Times reports that a trio of powerful, hard-left Democratic Congressmen are close to pushing through the federal government take-over of American medicine via the so-called “government option,” which would effectively establish “single payer” in the U.S. Congressmen Charles Rangel, George Miller and Henry Waxman are driving this radical proposal through the House and have thus far faced no opposition within their own ranks. Only a small amount of opposition has surfaced in the Senate.

“We saw a Washington takeover with banks,” Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the chairman of the Senate Republican Conference told the Times. “We saw Washington try to take over student loans. We see a Washington takeover with car companies. And now we see an attempt to have a Washington takeover with a government-run health care plan.”

What most Americans with insurance don’t seem to realize is that many if not most of their employers will quickly dump them into a government-run plan as a way to limit health care costs and increase profits. Even teachers and other public employees are going to wake up to find that their districts, cities, counties and states have off-loaded their expensive, gold-plated plans into the “government option.”

“Americans want reform that addresses the high cost of care and gives everyone access to quality care,” the Washington Post quoted Republican Mitch McConnell as saying on the Senate floor last week. “But creating a government bureaucracy that denies, delays and rations health care is not the reform they want. They don’t want the people who brought us the Department of Motor Vehicles making life-and-death decisions for them.”

Stopping the “government option” should be a priority of organized labor that has won their workers excellent health coverage, but they are as cowed as the AMA and the hospitals by the Obama/Pelosi/Reid hard-left edge of the Democratic Party.

There is very little time left to stop the destruction of American medicine as we know it, and that effort must be led by doctors who know what it means when bureaucrats begin to decide what treatments will be approved for which patients –rationing.

I wrote about the responsibility of doctors here, and have provided
The key contacts in the Senate are Max Baucus, Kent Conrad and Chris Dodd. Call their offices via 202-225-3121. Tell them you oppose the “government option” and that you will work to defeat them and to fund and elect their opponents if the government option is part of the Senate’s plan.

Dodd is already on the ropes in Connecticut. If his opponent Rob Simmons gets funded by angry doctors and other medical professionals, Dodd is finished. He knows that and opponents of the “government option” need to tell Senator Dodd that his willingness to work for the destruction of their practices means their willingness to work for his retirement.

I’ll provide a list of other Democratic senators who have to hear the same message later today.

If you are an M.D., consider joining forces with other doctors who are fighting to save American medicine from the control of the hard left: Docs4Patientcare.org.

UPDATE: Democratic senators, up for re-election in 2010, who need to hear from you via 202-225-3121 include:

Arkansas’ Blanche Lincoln

New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand

Indiana’s Evan Bayh

North Dakota’s Byron Dorgan

Colorado’s Michael Bennet

Pennsylvania’s Arlen Specter

Oregon’s Ron Wyden

Washington’s Patty Murray and

yes, Nevada’s Harry Reid. If Majority Leader Reid felt pressure in Nevada, he could single-handedly defeat the “government option.” As of yet, he doesn’t.

Doctors need to call these offices via the Senate switchboard, 202-225-3121 and deliver the blunt message: The government option will cripple American medicine and anyone who supports it is an enemy of doctors and health care professionals.

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