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Archive for May 10th, 2010

The AMA supported Brother O’s take over of health care to reap the benefits of the monopoly that the federal government created for it. Under ObamaCare, the AMA will administer a medical coding system that every health-care professional and hospital must use to get paid for their services.

Under the new coding system the AMA will take-in from $70–$100 million annually, which makes it less of an association that looks out for doctors’ interests and more of a special-interest group indebted to Brother O and the Democrat Congress.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has put doctors on notice who opposed ObamaCare.

“[P]hysicians should conduct political communications with sensitivity to patients’ vulnerability and desire for privacy.”—AMA issued statement

Yet doctors who oppose ObamaCare have not relented. Passage of this bill has stirred in them long dormant political emotions. Doctors across the country are educating their patients about how ObamaCare will limit their freedom to make their own health-care decisions.—Hal Scherz

Does the AMA still uphold the principle that it’s always medically ethical to tell patients the truth or are medical ethics a moot point when it comes to ObamaCare?

I.M. Kane


 

Why the AMA Wants to Muzzle Your Doctor

By Hal Scherz

It is always ethical to tell patients the truth, which is what doctors are doing by educating them about ObamaCare.

The American Medical Association (AMA) is putting the doctors of America on notice. A major cheerleader for ObamaCare, the organization is now trying to silence doctors who oppose it. It is time the American people understood what the AMA is really all about.

Last month, not long after a Florida urologist placed a sign in his door making it clear that patients who voted for President Obama were not welcome in his practice, the AMA issued the following statement: “[P]hysicians might reflect on how to properly balance their obligations as members of the medical profession with their rights as individual citizens who will be affected by reform. In particular, physicians may wonder whether it is appropriate to express political views to patients or their families.” The statement goes on to say that while the AMA “supports the right of physicians to free political speech and encourages them to exercise the full scope of their political rights . . . physicians should conduct political communications with sensitivity to patients’ vulnerability and desire for privacy.”

Many doctors interpreted this as an attempt—albeit with verbal parachutes attached—to keep them from sharing their opinions about health-care reform with their patients. This position is troubling on many levels.

The AMA was not only a major supporter of ObamaCare but also an accomplice in its passage. Without the support of the AMA it is quite possible that the health-care reform initiative would have failed. So why the effort to silence other doctors? The AMA is not only worried about protecting this misguided legislation, it is worried about protecting itself.

In the weeks since passage of this 2,700 page bill, more and more of its policy land-mines have exploded, including rising insurance premiums and admissions of inevitable rationing. Not surprisingly, an increasing number of physicians have expressed alarm over the impact that the legislation will have on their patients. This growing opposition makes the actions of the AMA, which represents only 17% of the doctors in the U.S., look very bad.

It is essential to understand the primary reason the AMA stands alongside President Obama on health-care reform. The organization wants to protect a monopoly that the federal government has created for it—a medical coding system administered by the AMA that every health-care professional and hospital must use if they wish to get paid for the services they provide. This monopoly generates income of $70 million to $100 million annually for the AMA. That makes the AMA less an association looking out for doctors and more a special-interest group beholden to Congress and the White House.

This isn’t the first time the AMA has acted in its own selfish interests and not the interests of the medical profession. The last time it had a chance to take a public stand against government intrusion into health care was the HillaryCare fight. The AMA disappeared during this debate, leaving others to fight for doctors and patients.

Yet doctors who oppose ObamaCare have not relented. Passage of this bill has stirred in them long dormant political emotions. Doctors across the country are educating their patients about how ObamaCare will limit their freedom to make their own health-care decisions. There are 925,000 doctors in America and the average doctor has at least 2,000 patients, with many of us already asking our patients if we can take two minutes to discuss this bill with them. This terrifies Congress and the White House.

Did someone in Washington give the AMA the order to muzzle outspoken doctors? Could it be Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman, the Malibu coastline representative who calls businesses to appear before his Energy and Commerce Subcommittee if in abiding by securities laws they reveal the hidden costs of ObamaCare? Perhaps it was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has staked her speakership on this bill?

The irony is that in supporting ObamaCare and trying to silence doctors the AMA has forgotten its own mission statement and ethical code:

“[T]o help doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues.” It is always medically ethical to tell patients the truth, which is what doctors are now doing by educating them about ObamaCare.

My own group, Docs4PatientCare, which to date represents more than 3,000 doctors, intends to continue providing materials and information to doctors who wish to educate and inform their patients about ObamaCare. We will also continue to challenge ObamaCare advocates whenever they show America the ugly face of intolerance and attempt to silence dissent.

Inasmuch as the AMA is allowed to operate a monopoly under the watchful eye of the federal government, I would expect the GOP Doctors Caucus in the House of Representatives to demand an investigation and request that the AMA fully disclose whether it was pressured by Congressional leadership, the White House or the Department of Health and Human Services to engage in intimidation tactics.

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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The meals, which are contracted by Port Wentworth for the Ed Young Senior Citizens Center, are mostly covered by federal money, thereby invoking the left’s sacrosanct separation of church and state “violation.”

The usual opening prayer before meals at the center was trashed and replaced by the generic “moment of silence” to protect federal funding.

“For me to look at their eyes and tell them they can’t thank God for their food, it’s unheard of – I can’t take it.”—Mayor Glenn Jones

“She would say pray anyway. She’d say don’t listen,” said Port Wentworth resident, Preston Blackwelder of his grandmother.

And Blackwelder’s grandmother would be right! The First Amendment restricts the federal powers from denying religious freedom. The clause emphasizes the freedom of religion, not the freedom from religion. Civil disobedience is not merely called for in this incident, it is demanded.

The line in the sand has been crossed; it’s time for every patriot in the community to respond to the crossing.

I am aghast … I am enraged …

I.M. Kane 


 

Port Wentworth nixes prayer at senior center

By Arek Sarkissian II

Preston Blackwelder proudly showed off a painting of his grandmother that had hung next to the front door of his Port Wentworth home.

She was the woman who led him to God, Blackwelder said Friday.

And with that firm religious footing, Blackwelder said, it would be preposterous to stop praying before meals at Port Wentworth’s Ed Young Senior Citizens Center because of a federal guideline.

“She would say pray anyway,” Blackwelder said of his grandmother. “She’d say don’t listen.”

But Senior Citizens Inc. officials said Friday the meals they are contracted by the city to provide to Ed Young visitors are mostly covered with federal money, which ushers in the burden of separating church and state.

Thus, on Thursday, the open prayer at the center was traded in for a moment of silence.

The dilemma is being hashed out by the Port Wentworth city attorney, said Glenn “Pig” Jones, the city’s mayor.

Strict guidelines

Tim Rutherford, Senior Citizens Inc. vice president, said some of his staff recently visited the center and noticed people praying shortly before lunch was served. Rutherford said his company provides meals like baked chicken, steak tips and rice and salads at a cost of about $6 a plate. Seniors taking the meals pay 55 cents and federal money foots the rest of the bill, Rutherford said.

“We can’t scoff at their rules,” he said of federal authorities. “It’s a part of the operational guidelines.”

Rutherford said the moment of silence was introduced to protect that funding. He said although the change may have been misinterpreted, perhaps his company could have done a better job selling it.

“It’s interpreted that we’re telling people that they can’t pray, but we aren’t saying that,” he said. “We’re asking them to pray to themselves. Have that moment of silence.”

‘Can’t thank God’

Mayor Jones said he was outraged by the change and has promised to find a solution.

“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever did as mayor is to look at those people in the eyes and ask them to be patient with me and honor their God in a moment of silence until I can have a resolution to this,” Jones said. “For me to look at their eyes and tell them they can’t thank God for their food, it’s unheard of – I can’t take it.”

Jones said he enlisted the help of Port Wentworth’s city attorney and scheduled a Tuesday morning meeting with Senior Citizens Inc. to determine the best solution.

Jones added he also flirted with the idea of ending a contract the city has with Senior Citizens Inc.

“Like one lady said, ‘You can stop me from speaking, but you can’t stop me from praying what’s in my heart,’” he said. “But the best answer right now is that we’re trying to get the best information possible and legal council is looking at what would happen if we continued to pray.”

Invasion of privacy

Blackwelder said the center’s already fragile visitors have been rattled.

Along with threatening the center’s amenities, the decision has frightened the people who use it.

“Their security consciousness is prevalent anyway,” he said. “You’re threatening their security with their meals and the place where they spend the majority of the day.

“This is, in my view, an unnecessary intrusion into the private lives of individuals. It’s a bad place to draw a line in the sand.”

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