Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hey, It's About ME!

It was a remarkable day in clinic yesterday.

Not because of the number of people I saw (12) or the clinical diversity seen, but rather how many people (4) asked me what I thought of the current health care reform bill before Congress.

The political spin being posed by Democrats is that people are staging town hall protests about their displeasure about the current health care reform efforts underway.

I don't think so.

Rather, I think people are finally realizing that the health care reform proposal on the table is no longer about the "47 million" uninsured, but rather, "Hey, this health care reform thing, why, it's about ME!"



Anonymous said...

I have been asked similar questions by patients. Some of my Medicare patients are in a hurry to have any procedure completed now because they fear rationing is just around the corner. I have been told of Medicare patients trying to have hip/knee replacements now rather than waiting.

Anonymous said...

About 40% of my husband's patients are asking him what he thinks too while at their appointments. He's noted that the vast majority ask because they wanted to tell him that if he was for the proposals out there, they're not and were ready to tell him why he shouldn't be for this and that they're happy he doesn't like it anymore than they do!

Anonymous said...

I read the first article. In fact, it says Democrats are saying REPUBLICANS are staging town hall meetings, not "people". The "people" are going along, probably for varied reasons. (I don't doubt that the town hall meetings are being "staged" by someone, I have the misfortune of sometimes being exposed to right-wing talk radio and I hear the incitement- and yet, no solutions, no counter-proposals, from the talking heads or the "protestors").

I clicked on your second link and it goes to a post from 2007, citing web sites of various politcal candidates from 2007. Don't you have a link to show that TODAY, RIGHT NOW, the 47 million figure is being used? If so, why not post it?

And your last link? To a WSJ opinion column filled with anecdotal "they are sayings" but no direct quotes.

I read your blog a lot, and think of you as a smart man but I hope you are not being taken in by the "let's make Obama fail" wingnuts.

Anonymous said...

What happens at these "town hall meetings"?

DrWes said...

Anony 10:45-

My point here is that I think the health care reform debate is one that many, many people are really becoming involved in because it directly affects them.

Regarding my last link to the WSJ article: the article basically notes what I have found: that the "47 million uninsured" is not the issue any longer (okay, call it "50 million uninsured" and forget about the breakdown of illegal aliens, people who chose not to be insured, etc.) - but rather "it's about me." People care. People are concerned. People are passionate about what's happening. People know there's trouble in River City and want reform, but they're also concerned that Congressman are voting on sensitive/expensive legislation without reading it or understanding its contents in a "rush" to pass SOMETHING now.

Here's an example of "prostestors" in Tampa excluded from a town hall meeting where SEIU employees were admitted but others were excluded. Are they disorderly "mobs" or concerned citizens who want their voice heard? You decide. Others are noting the same peaceful objections being raised at town hall meetings across the country.

It's not just conservative "wingnut" groups (to use your phrase) like Freedom Works or Conservatives for Patient's Rights who are concerned and feel a need to voice their concerns, it's many, many other common Janes and Joes out there - people just like my patients.

Anony 1:18PM -

Some have criticized Krugman's comments, but thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Here's the guidance for civil discourse by "concerned citizens" from thoughtful commentators such as Sean Hannity.

“Become a part of the mob!” said a banner posted Friday on the Web site of the talk show host Sean Hannity. “Attend an Obama Care Townhall near you!” The exhortations do not advocate violence, but some urge opponents to be disruptive.

“Pack the hall,” said a strategy memo circulated by the Web site Tea Party Patriots that instructed, “Yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early.”

' “Get him off his prepared script and agenda,” the memo continued. “Stand up and shout and sit right back down.”

The memo was obtained by the liberal Web site ThinkProgress. Its author, Robert MacGuffie, a founder of the conservative Web site Right Principles, confirmed to The New York Times that the memo was legitimate.'

...'On Thursday, the talk show host Rush Limbaugh said the administration’s health care logo was itself similar to a Nazi symbol. ' ......

Yes, that is certainly helpful dialogue, full of good suggestions for alternatives, probably from people who enjoy Medicare coverage, one of those horrible "government programs".

There's room for disagreement, sure, and constructive criticism and thoughtful discussion can go a long way toward a solution. But that is clearly not what these folks are after. They have one motivation: make the Obama administration fail so the heirs to the Bush administration can retake power and continue with the fine work they did for 8 years.

DrWes said...

Anony 07:52-

While there are extremes to either side, it still is remarkable that the discussion is leaking into my office. There is no question that people are concerned that the massive changes afoot threaten to disrupt their care at great cost to our society. Perhaps this disruption is needed. But perhaps there might be a better way. One only has to look at the failure of Massachusetts to control costs while providing universal access to healthcare to wonder if doing the same thing nationwide is prudent.

Perhaps a roll-out of an idea restricted to a region or state that demonstrates it's capable of sustainability would make more sense. Why are we not fixing Massachusetts' fiscal challenge as a model for the nation? Why are we not fixing Medicare's insolvency - a model we have tons of data for and understand - before moving to another, much larger entitlement program?

The challenges here involve much more than just health care (as people are realizing) - there's also peoples' jobs and tax burdens.

Look, I admire that anyone would try to wrestle with fixing our health care system. But like the attempts at implementing Hillarycare, many of the proposals and discussions have been anything but transparent as Big Money corporate interests have had their say "at the table."

Now, it seems, patients are having theirs.