Doctors Urge Republicans to Resist Reform Repeal

November 24, 2010
Keith L. Martin

Perhaps appropriately at Thanksgiving, a coalition of physicians and medical school students are telling the incoming Republican leadership of the U.S. House to stuff talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act and put bi-partisan squabbling on the back burner.The move is part of an effort to gather 2,500 signatories to an online petition to reach Washington, D.C., when the new Congress takes office.

"[Patients] deserve the truth about health care reform, not propaganda designed to terrify them!"

"As a physician and an American, I find the status quo situation unacceptable."

"Please do not allow this genocide of the uninsured go on any longer."

The following are just three lines of more than 60 notes to the new Republican leaders of the U.S. House from physicians and medical students nationwide. Perhaps appropriately at Thanksgiving, they are telling lawmakers to stuff talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act and put bi-partisan squabbling on the back burner.

The messages come as part of a campaign from Doctors for America, which dubs itself as a "national movement of physicians and medical students" fighting for equal access to healthcare for all Americans. The group is seeking 2,500 signatories to an online petition urging incoming House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Major Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to stop talking about weakening or repealing the health reform law, which has yet to reach its one-year anniversary.

"We believe repealing or weakening the Affordable Care Act will move our healthcare system backward - and we strongly urge against it," the petition reads. "Instead, we ask you to work with us in building upon the Affordable Care Act, making it stronger, and ensuring that we can create a health care system that works for all Americans."

As of this blog post, the petition has more than 570 signatures.

In addition to naming all of the signatories - which represent a wide range of specialties and geographic regions - Doctors for America has done another interesting thing to accompany the petition. They have posted notes from physician petitioners from the front lines. The stories from these doctors are sometimes angry, sometimes heartbreaking, and often interesting to hear from those of us who do not spend our days seeing patients.

You can read all the stories here and also read a shorter recap from Harold Pollack, an advisor to the group and writer for the Huffington Post, here.

When any new healthcare legislation comes up, lawmakers in Washington, D.C., are quick to say that they consult doctors and others who work with patients every day. The AMA told us recently it still believes it is the "voice of the U.S. physician" and a consistent distributor of information to Congress as well.

Let's hope that lawmakers take the Doctors for America petition seriously, whether it reaches its goal of 2,500 physicians and med students or not. Let's hope that over the holiday break, when they have some time back in their home districts, they look for their local physicians and read the stories from those who carry out the edicts made on Capitol Hill.

But most of all, let's hope they give thanks that physicians are giving them the guidance they need to make the right decisions to help patients and aid more Americans in getting the care they need.