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Democrats Flee as Obama Speaks

Democrats Flee as Obama Speaks

By Hal Scherz - September 22, 2010

As President Obama delivers yet another speech on his healthcare debacle-this one on the 6 month anniversary of the bill's passage- he may notice some of the people who won't be clapping: members of his own party. Like aristocrats aboard a sinking steamship, Congressional Democrats are madly scrambling for whatever life vests they can find.

Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, one of the architects of the healthcare insurance mandates, has voiced second thoughts, saying "I would like to explore the possibility of Oregon moving forward with a federal waiver (on mandates)" Another Democrat, Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor, has broken ranks and joined with 171 Republicans in signing petition #11 which calls for a vote to repeal Obamacare.

Not to be outdone, the American Medical Association (AMA) became the latest turncoat on Obamacare when they announced their support of Tea Party favorite, Pat Toomey for senator of Pennsylvania. The irony is that Toomey is a devotee of the troika: defund-repeal-replace while the AMA was a staunch supporter of the Affordable Care Act in order to protect their government sanctioned medical coding system monopoly which provides as much as $100 million annually and its passage without their support was questionable. Unfortunately, they wield more influence than should be the case for an organization that represents so few doctors- only 17% of the doctors in the US - and a large percentage of this group are medical students, residents in training, retired doctors and academicians who are often removed from patient care issues. As they embark on a campaign to bolster their dwindling numbers by offering a half price membership sale, their efforts are proving futile because they are as out of touch with their constituency as is the current resident of the White House with his. Instead of a mea culpa, they offer suggestions on how to cope and prosper under Obamacare.

The Democrats are hoping that the American public develops amnesia regarding how Obamacare came to be and about who was responsible for this massive tax program posing as healthcare reform. Unless some brilliant hacker has the ability to surreptitiously erase all records of the past 18 months from videotape and internet, then res ipsa loquitur, the facts speak for themselves. Nevertheless, as the fall election approaches Democrats are doing their best to run away from Obamacare. They distance themselves from it by pretending that they either do not agree with it now or have voted against it. They run advertisements on TV and don't even mention that they are Democrats, as if ashamed to be associated with them. They have been instructed not to mention healthcare reform during their campaigns which is odd since this was the only "achievement" during the first 2 years of the Obama regime. Even Nancy Pelosi has granted "permission" to her minions running for Congressional seats to say whatever they must, even to "throw her under the bus," if it means that they might be able to win a seat.

Yet the White House is not giving up. The President and his proxies are still trying to convince the American public that this bitter medicine will make the healthcare system better, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Obama continues to stump for healthcare which is unusual behavior on the part of a president once a law has already been passed. TV commercials air daily featuring familiar "old friends" like Andy Griffith, attempting to suggest that seniors will be better off once Obamacare arrives as if that is even remotely possible when half of a trillion dollars is being siphoned away from an already bankrupt Medicare. They are also hopeful we won't discover that this propaganda campaign was paid for from taxpayer dollars.

This is just the beginning of the heavy handedness of the federal government under Obamacare. The law hasn't even kicked in yet and we are already seeing brute force tactics. When several insurance companies issued a statement about what they anticipated to be rate increases that they would need to charge their customers in order to comply with Obamacare regulations, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius countered with strong, threatening tones. There have been reports that two life extending drugs used for advanced stage breast and prostate cancer, Avastin and Provenge respectively, are on the Medicare chopping block, solely because of cost, not efficacy. As head of CMS, Donald Berwick has the ultimate say about this matter and we will soon learn if everything that we fear about him; a man who has derided our healthcare system while enthusiastically extoling the merits of the rationing board, NICE (National Institute of Comparative Effectiveness) of the British National Health System, is in fact true.

November 2 cannot arrive fast enough. There is a small crack in the wall and unless that wall comes crashing down by sending Washington the strongest message possible, then it may be too late and the high quality healthcare that everyone expects from American medicine may be a distant memory. The message is that a mandate to fix the problems confronting healthcare does not give Washington the right to steal from the people- their money and freedom. Democrats cannot run away from the fact that they were complicit in this, even with a negative vote. A change of power is mandatory to rescue the healthcare sysyem and gain real reform and if given the chance and the GOP fails, then they too will be held accountable. No amount of PR can alter the facts. We can go to the videotape. So when President Obama now tries to convince us that the mandate is a tax, the videotape shows him berating George Stephanopolis for suggesting this. When he tells America that naturally costs have to go up when an additional 30 million Americans are added to the healthcare rolls, we can watch and listen to him tell us virtually every time he spoke that his plan would "bend the cost curve down. Any further attempts to sell this healthcare law as an "affordable care act" that "protects" patients is simply fantasy.

Dr. Scherz, a pediatric urological surgeon at Georgia Urology and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, serves on the faculty of Emory University Medical School and is president and cofounder of Docs4PatientCare.

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