Docs as Props
October 5, 2009
In the Rose Garden this morning, President Obama met with a group of doctors.
From all fifty states.
Banned from the meeting were doctors from Physicians for a National Health Program -- representing more than 17,000 docs who support a single payer health care system.
Those doctors were not invited to attend.
They asked to be admitted.
And were denied.
Instead, a small group of these single payer docs circled the White House in protest
And then joined a group of anti-war demonstrators at the front of the White House.
They want Congress to start from scratch.
Dr. Paul Hochfeld led a group of these doctors on a cross-country 22-day, 27-town whistle-stop tour for single payer.
This morning, Hochfeld, an emergency room physician from Corvallis, Oregon, insisted on being admitted to the Rose Garden event.
And amazingly he was allowed in -- even though his name was not on the list of doctors to be admitted.
But afterward, Hochfeld said it was a mere "photoshoot."
"There were no questions," Hochfeld said after the Rose Garden event. "There were no comments. This was clearly a photoshoot. This isn't about health care. This is about our legislators needing campaign financing. These were genuine doctors inside. And they agree that our political process is completely corrupt. And that's the reason we are not getting the only solution to this real mess we are in -- single payer."
"We wanted to meet with President Obama and he refused us," said. Dr. Michael Huntington, another Oregon doc who traveled cross country with Hochfeld and a group of other Mad as Hell Doctors. "The public option is a sham. It will cost more and serve fewer people than a single payer health plan. Obama's plan is going to be one public plan swimming in the shark infested waters of private health insurance industry. The public plan will accept the sick and the poor. The wealthy and the employed will be excluded from the public option. The public option will struggle and fail."
Dr. Andy Coates traveled from Albany, New York to meet with Obama today.
He too was denied entry.
"A single payer plan would save hundreds of billions of dollars a year," Dr. Coates said. "It would be about health care, not health insurance. Our idea is evidently so dangerous that we had to be moved a quarter mile from the White House. Every entrance to the White House is closed down for the next hour and a half so there wouldn't be a camera to take a picture showing there are doctors who want national health insurance."
Dr. Walter Tsou came from Philadelphia to meet with President Obama.
"The doctors in the White House will tell you that they support single payer," Dr. Tsou said. "They want to see something done. But whatever the something is is going to be totally influenced by the insurance and drug lobby. And that something is going to put more billions of dollars of our money into their pockets. I resent that. It's a waste of our money. We know a better solution -- single payer. We need to have the courage to confront the insurance industry. I would urge members of Congress to vote against the way Obamacare is fashioned right now. Obama's health plan is being fashioned by the industry."
Dr. Tsou said he supported Obama during 2008, but he's having second thoughts now.
Sam Husseini, a single payer activist, said after the event that Obama used the docs as props.
"Insurance companies are cherry picking patients," Husseini said. "Now Obama is cherry picking doctors."