Posted by: notdeaddinosaur | July 23, 2009

I Call Bullshit

Other bloggers have brought this to my attention, but I must join in as well.

Barack Obama, 7/22/09, 47 minutes into a nationally televised press conference (emphasis mine):

We wanted to make sure that doctors are making decisions based on evidence, based on what works. That’s not how it’s happening right now. Doctors are forced to make decisions based on a fee payment schedule that’s out there. So they’re looking… if you come in with a sore throat or your child comes in with a sore throat, has repeated sore throats, a doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, “I’d make a lot more money if I took this kids tonsils out.” Now that might be the right thing to do, but I’d rather have that doctor making those decisions based on whether you need your kids tonsils out or whether it might make more sense to change, uh, maybe they have allergies or something else that would make a difference. So part of what we want to do is free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what’s best for patient care.

I call bullshit, Mr. President. Bullshit, plain and simple.

How dare you claim that my medical decisions are based primarily on financial considerations? (In fact, when I do take finances into account, it’s usually those of my patients without insurance or otherwise limited resources.) How dare you!! I work my ass off day in and day out making medical decisions based on the best scientific evidence available — while earning only one tenth of what you do, I should add — and you have the unmitigated gall to claim that I’m only in it for the money.

Where the hell did that come from? Please tell me you don’t really believe that’s how doctors make medical decisions? What were you thinking? You have a reputation for understanding complex and highly nuanced situations like the Middle East. I was under the impression that you understood that health care in America deserves similarly careful consideration. Please tell me your above remarks were off the cuff, that you spoke without thinking, and that they do not really reflect your opinion of American doctors.

Echoing Dr. Wes, you owe an apology to the doctors of America.

Edited to add this from the comments, courtesy of Rogue Medic:

Money is just one variable in a complex system. Suggesting that doctors are incapable of making decisions, without being forced by money, is disingenuous, sophomoric, and insulting. Insulting to everyone, not just insulting to doctors. For this blatant exibition of prejudice, President Obama owes an apology to all Americans and to doctors in particular.

(Read his whole comment.)


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