Watching the Wheels

November 3, 2010

Whatever happens in the election I can only hope that the new Congress will repeal the monstrous power grab disguised as healthcare legislation that was rammed down the gullet of the country earlier this year. How any physician or healthcare professional can possibly support this disaster is simply beyond my understanding.

I brought my kids to the polling center Tuesday to vote. I’ve done the same thing every two years for the past 12 - I guess it’s sort of a tradition. They know which candidates I support and have in fact contributed money to. The kids took turns pressing the little electric buttons for each candidate that cause pale green arrows to light up and then punching the big orange button that says “CAST” on it. There was no giggling or joking around in the voting booth. We went in, cast our votes, and exited solemnly and seriously. Then we enjoyed some homemade oatmeal raisin cookies baked by the League of Women Voters volunteers. We met some neighbors and I was pleased to see other children arrive with their parents. The whole experience was, as it is every election, very civil.

The Republicans are expected to win big this year. I hope they do, even though I’m a registered Independent. The Democrats have royally screwed the pooch these past two years. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is what happens when there is no healthy opposition.

Whatever else happens I can only hope that the new Congress will repeal the monstrous power grab disguised as healthcare legislation that was rammed down the gullet of the country earlier this year. How any physician or health care professional can possibly support this disaster is simply beyond my understanding. Everything about this law is wrong - from its length (more than 2,000 pages) to its reach (creeping into the examining room) to its cost (no way to calculate, but triple initial estimates) to the disgusting strong-arm, dirty deals that were used to pass it. No intelligent individual can honestly look at the Obama healthcare bill and believe that it was created to improve access to health care for the citizenry. This is the naked and blatant creation of a mechanism to control the economy and the population of the United States. There is no fixing or amending or modifying this travesty. There is only repeal and replace.

The cornerstone of the replacement legislation must be tort reform. One needs only to look at the Texas experience to see that nothing lowers malpractice premiums (and consequently total health care expenditure) than putting a leash on the lawyers. There are 60 percent more physicians in Texas today than there were in 2003. Muzzling the trial lawyers in Texas has had other consequences – businesses such as Research in Motion and others have picked up from tax-heavy and lawyer friendly California and settled in Irving and other Texas towns.

One sign that this election may actually result in repeal of the health care catastrophe is the sheer number of physicians that are running for office. A CBS news story from April listed 47 physicians running in national elections this year (41 of them are Republicans). Replacement of the lawyers that created this mess with physicians that are (hopefully) interested in fixing it might be the single greatest contribution that this generation can make for the economic future of our children.

As I got ready to turn into bed, the guy I gave money to was running behind and may actually lose the race. His opponent is a liar and has lied repeatedly during the campaign (I happen to know people that have worked with him) which is why I decided to put my money where my mouth was and contribute money to the campaign.

If my guy does lose, my ability to set aside money for my kids will undoubtedly be more difficult and their futures will be marked by indebtedness and resignation but, like Randall Patrick McMurphy in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” at least I can say that I tried.