Do US doctors support 0bamacare?

The claim is often made that US doctors support 0bamacare because the AMA (American Medical Association) got on board with it.

In fact, things are rather different, as this article shows (h/t: Realwest).

Attempting to enact his big-government health care scheme, President Obama and his supporters frequently claimed that a “majority” of doctors supported his health-care plans.  When the American Medical Association – which had opposed HillaryCare – signed onto Obama’s plan last year, the organization seemed to make the President’s case.  Most people assumed that the AMA represented most of the doctors in the country.  But in fact, the AMA represents less than 20 percent of all physicians in the United States. And yet as the organization’s leadership moved more to the left, it held a near monopoly on media attention on issues pertaining to public health.   No longer.

As the AMA has become increasingly politicized in recent years – issuing a statement in support of climate change, for example, in 2008 – a new group of doctors has risen to challenge them.  […]

Founded by Dr. Hal Scherz, a prominent Atlanta physician, [Docs4PatientCare] expressed concern that like so many other professional groups, the AMA’s leadership have been  thoroughly “Washingtonized” – caring more about the pleadings of other lobbyists on K Street, White House invitations and Capitol Hill committee appearances than the professions they are supposed to represent.  As doctors have taken a battering over several decades from insurance companies, HMOS, and government agencies, Scherz says the AMA was a bystander.

“As the insurance companies become more and more impossible and government intrusion keeps growing, we’ve seen our delivery of care to our patients compromised and our incomes decrease,” he said.

But it was the AMA’s support for ObamaCare that really troubled Scherz and others in his field.

Many doctors run small businesses and by nature are entrepreneurial.  Why then, he wondered, would the AMA favor ObamaCare’s regulatory and taxation burden?   Why would they want a multitude of government panels interfering with the decisions doctors usually make with their patients about care and treatment?  Recognizing that the AMA was compromised, Scherz decided to organize his own group in opposition to the Obama plan.

[…] Growing past this initial cadre of supporters proved difficult, however.  Scherz spent as much time as he could emailing and phone calling more doctors to join the effort, but the response rate was slow.  So coming home one night from the operating room, he called the Hewitt show and got in on the call-in queue.  Waiting on hold for two hours, he finally got on the air in the show’s third hour.  Delighted to have his missing-doctor question finally answered, Hewitt spoke with Scherz for a lengthy period.“Then Hewitt blogged about us and put us the website and that made all the difference,” said Scherz.[…]

With their newfound growth and publicity, Docs 4 Patient Care made getting heard in Washington their next objective.  Wearing their scrubs and white jackets, the doctors drew attention as they walked the halls of congress and spoke at rallies on Capitol Hill. Often just showing up in the offices of members of the House and Senate, they would manage to get appointments with the members themselves or key staff members.

One particular meeting that stuck out in memories was with the staff of Senator Olympia Snowe, the Maine Republican senator who was being heavily courted by Democrats in the hope of getting some bipartisan window dressing for the Democratic bill.  The meeting was a long one by Capitol Hill standards and the Snowe staff kept bringing up the arguments made by Democrats on behalf of ObamaCare.  But in the face of the doctor’s facts and experience the arguments didn’t stand up long.  Schertz believes Docs 4 Patient Care may have helped make a difference in Snowe’s ultimate, and fateful, decision not to sign on to ObamaCare.

Read the whole thing. And of course, the raaaaacist card, even here, is the last refuge of the anointed:

Another memorable incident cited by members of the group occurred when one of their members, Joyce Lovett MD, an African American female pediatrician, got the doctors into a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus.  A debate opened up over the health care plan and soon the doctors were text-messaging their colleagues visiting other offices around the capitol for reinforcements.  As the room began filling up, the doctors, doing well in the back and forth of debate, seemed to be changing some minds.  At that point, a worried Black Caucus leader and diehard partisan, John Conyers, broke up the meeting, saying the doctors were more interested in embarrassing the first black president than in achieving real reform.   Unused to this sort of political attack, the astonished doctors told other caucus members  how they felt after taking time from their practices and patients to come all the way to Washington only to hear a member of Congress insinuate they were racists.  One caucus member privately dismissed Conyers’ “old ways of thinking,” suggesting that the CBC might be ready for fresh, and more innovative, leadership.

From the comments:

I’m from Atlanta and proud that two of my own doctors are among the original founders of this group! When I go to a doctor I always try to bring up Obamacare and ask the doc what his/her opinion is of socialized medicine, and they are all opposed. When I pointed out that the AMA supported Obamacare, and asked why, one of my docs told me that the AMA is mostly academics and not practicing physicians, so they tend to be pretty liberal. He also pointed out that most docs don’t belong to the AMA. He told me that he’s always been too busy managing his practice to get involved in politics, but that this issue is too important to sit on the sidelines any longer. Fortunately my Congressman, a former doctor, is also instrumental in the efforts of this group.

UPDATE: tangentially related, from the comments:

It’s rather insidious how liberals run a lot of professional organizations. Even if the membership votes on leaders, it’s the professional staff that really runs the show. I’m a corporate librarian and it’s even overrun our organization. Oddly, they don’t know why membership drops and they just keep raising the dues.

Of course, having the podium is all that really matters because they get to speak for the organization — no matter how few members are left.

Reminds me of the Second Law of Robert Conquest. Robert Conquest’s Three Laws of Politics are quoted here as follows (see also here or here):

  1. Everyone is conservative about what he knows best.
  2. Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left wing.
  3. The simplest way to explain the behavior of any bureaucratic organization is to assume that it is controlled by a cabal of its enemies [or, as argued here, of the enemies of the organization’s stated purpose]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s