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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Doctors Protest

I found this article on the HUMAN EVENTS Web site, www.humanevents.com. It is a good picture of where a significant number of physicians stand vis-a-vis the Senate and House health care “reform” bills, and the organization to which many are flocking in an effort to block those bills.

Docs 4 Patient Care — Time for a New Look for Doctors
by  Hal Scherz, M.D.
02/19/2010

When healthcare became the centerpiece of the Obama legislative agenda in early 2009, it appeared that the government takeover of 1/6 of our economy was imminent. A big part of the reason for optimism on the part of the Democrat leadership was the absence of any meaningful resistance. A frequent question posed by the opponents of this policy was where are the doctors in this debate?

Indeed.

The doctors were conspicuously absent and this was the problem. Their absence had led many to conclude that physicians didnt have an opinion on this subject, or worse, were in agreement with this scheme. The truth was quite the opposite. Doctors were frustrated, angry and concerned about the future of their profession and the fate of their patients. There was a palpable need for doctors to have a voice in this debate because up until this point, it was nonexistent.

It was assumed that the American Medical Association (AMA) provided the platform for doctors to air their views. It came as a shock to most people when it was revealed that this was not the case, and in fact, only 17% of all doctors were members. To compound the problem, the AMA betrayed the very people that it was ostensibly meant to represent. This was to protect its $100M medical coding franchise that the federal government grants the AMA as the basis by which doctors and hospitals get  paid by insurance companies and the federal government — a major incentive for the group to endorse state-run medicine.

Docs 4 Patient Care attempted to fill this vacuum. This doctor run organization was born in Atlanta, Georgia in late May 2009 with 40 concerned individuals coming together with a simple concept; to give physicians a platform to broadcast their views, to inform the public and their patients what was really happening in Washington, and to empower them to do something about it. Not quite 9 months and 3000 doctors later, this group has members in every state in the US. It has gone from a regional group with a mission to stop the government takeover of healthcare, to a national group determined to do more. The window of opportunity has been cracked open and now there is a real chance to knock the AMA off its perch to provide real leadership and representation to the American doctors.

The majority of doctors want to see changes in healthcare. This means responsible reform. The system requires remodeling, not demolition. Patients are tired of the partisan politics and want the specific problems addressed, not using the identification of these problems as an excuse to do something far more insidious. We at Docs 4 Patient Care would agree. Doctors dont take care of Democrats or Republicans. We take care of patients, and they deserve something better from Washington than what they have receiving.

We are determined to grow our organization so that physicians have a voice in the media, in Congress and with insurance companies. We see no reason why with this platform, we couldnt see D4PC grow to 50,000 doctors by the end of the year. We also need the help of non physicians and invite them to join us on this quest as affiliate members. Their concerns as patients are important to us and we are committed to keep their needs at the heart of everything that we do.

Docs 4 Patient Care has not forgotten why the group was created; to prevent the government takeover of healthcare. This possibility is still very real and if we have learned anything during this debate, those who are in power in Washington are capable of doing anything to make their dream a reality. The longer this goes on without resolution, the more desperate and reckless they become. We will continue to advocate for a responsible resolution which is based on a patient centered, market driven approach where doctors and patients remain unencumbered in medical decision making. The solutions should not be political or ideological. Docs 4 Patient Care believes that it is not a matter of right or left; its about right or wrong.

Hal Scherz, MD, is a pediatric urological surgeon at Georgia Urology and Childrens Health Care of Atlanta, serves on the faculty of Emory University Medical School and president and cofounder of Docs4PatientCare.

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