The California Results, Calling All Doctors, Part II (and Hannity Tonight)
First, I’ll be finishing my cross-country travels with an appearance on Sean Hannity’s Great American Panel tonight.
Now, the good news. California voters overwhelmingly rejected a tax-hike solution to the fiscal meltdown with beaches that is California. The landslide numbers are stunning, and note that the single anti-legislature proposition passed while five big-government props failed by huge margins, demonstrating a very informed, very focused electorate. There is no way to read these results except as a huge slap at Arnold and the Sacramento sharpies of both parties who thought they could trick voters into more spending and more tax hikes.
An aside. There is an incredible headline in the Lost Angeles Times: California Voters Exercise Their Power–And That’s The Problem. No liberal media bias there, right? No wonder the paper is dying, spitting in the eye of an electorate that just shouted at the top of its voices “We can’t pay any more taxes!” Big government liberals with keypads and editors who tut-tut the middle class’s tax burden continue to misreport the California collapse and the voters’ reaction to it, and newspaper circulation continues to decline. The huge vote against taxes and the entrenched special interests that dominate Sacramento, especially the public employee unions, is a huge story and the nearly dead and desperate hard left remnant at the Times simply refuses to cover the story. Amazing. If a new owner returns to actual journalism and especially to that part about making the powerful uncomfortable, circulation will soar. But there’s no sense subscribing to a tip sheet for the Sacramento elite.
The great news is that state Democrats risk a huge blow back in November 2010 if they move forward with another sneaky tax-hike-disguised-as-a-fee and jack the state gas tax by a dozen cents or more, as is the rumored plan. The voters are clearly demanding a massive downsizing in state government and an end to huge contracts with state employee unions.
The bad news is that this very loud, very precise message of “stop spending our money” from the west coast will be rejected by the ruling elites in D.C. and won’t be carried for much more than a day, if at all, by an adoring MSM more interested in the latest “new” presidential initiative. The vote in California underscores that there is a tremendous frustration with the left’s power grab, which isn’t what the country voted for last fall. The Beltway prefers not to notice this groundswell, setting up a very dramatic showdown a year-and-a-half out.
Which unfortunately may be too late to save American medicine if the doctors don’t stop complaining and actually start doing something. Again at last night’s forum in Atlanta –where I shared the stage with Bill Bennett, Dennis Prager and guest moderator Jonah Goldberg– I met a number of doctors, and had a chance for a decent length conversation with three in particular, a surgical oncologist, a radiation oncologist and a dermatologist. Then I opened the show talking with doctors from Texas and Tennessee. Not one of these five specialists had contacted even one friendly Representative or Senator much less a Democrat, and in this political lethargy they are representative of the profession.
I stipulate that doctors are very busy and very hard-working and that an 80 to a 100 hour work week isn’t unusual. The doctors I spoke to yesterday are very well informed about politics, know the dangers of the “government option,” and are looking for a way to join the fray. But the problem is they are waiting for someone to organize them.
If the steamroller is headed towards your house, don’t you try and stop it?
All of these wonderful doctors and many tens of thousands more believe the AMA to have utterly failed them. True enough. So that means efforts to save American medicine from the “government option,” which is “single payer,” will have to be organized outside of the time-serving association executives inside the Beltway.
Two suggestions, docs.
First, demand the hospital administrator where you practice to convene a meeting of all doctors and bring to it a list of every Democratic congressman in your state. Ask every doctor to call every Democratic congressman and tell every Democratic Congressman that you will be supporting their opponent with money and time if the “government” option emerges from this Congress. This isn’t the most efficient approach because some Dems won’t be turned from socialized medicine and the mirage of single payer even if every doctor in America called their offices, but until a more specific list emerges, the “every doctor” approach must be pursued. (If there is a resource available that lists the 60 most reasonable Democrats in the House and the 10 most reasonable Democratic Senators on this issue, send me a pointer via email@example.com. Over the next few weeks I will refine a target list for your calls, but get started on demanding that health care institutions like the hospitals you work within get involved in the effort to stop single payer.)
Second, join the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, and do so today. Unlike the AMA, the AAPS is working hard to stop the radical restructuring of American health care that will introduce widespread rationing whilke destroying the traditional doctor-patient relationship.
After the 2004 presidential election, a triumphant George Bush announced he’d be spending his political capital on reforming social security. That push was defeated in the Senate, where the GOP numbers in 2009 are perilously close to irrelevant and where Dems are threatening to use a parliamentary trick to pass the radical rewrite of medicine’s rules with 50 votes instead of 60.
So the effort to stop the “government option”/”single payer” is going to be much more difficult than the block the Dems put on social security reform in 2005, but it can be done and the best hope is in the House where 40 to 50 Democrats have to be found who fear losing their jobs more than they do the power of their Speaker. Doctors are just the types to find the cure for the illness, but they have to resolve to try. Perhaps the AAPS will lead the way.