Right now, President Obama seems to be BFF-ing with doctors, as evidenced by his latest meet-up in the Rose Garden yesterday, where 150 doctors from all 57 states 50 states gathered to support the President’s healthcare plan. The physicians weren’t invited to give testimony or expert opinions on healthcare or the bill currently being cobbled together, but simply as a photo op to prove that doctors stand with the President on his plan.
Sadly, as far as photo-ops go, this one was a bust. Even though all the doctors on the guest list were requested to appear in costume in white lab coats (because we rubes only understand that they’re doctors if they’re wearing their doc-garb), many forgot to do so, and so the White House, in an unexpected burst of preparedness, handed out props to those who arrived.
These actions are definitely at odds with the ways in which the President has portrayed doctors in some of his recent speeches about health care. For example, back in July, he very definitely cast doctors as villains when he accused physicians of deliberately mis-diagnosing children’s illnesses in order to get more money by performing tonsillectomies rather than prescribing cold medicine.
“Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there. … The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out,'” Obama told a prime-time news conference. The president added: “Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I’d rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid’s tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change; maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference.”
And in August, doctors were the villains again when, in his infamous Portsmouth, NH town hall meeting, he accused them of preferring to do amputations to other remedies because amputations netted the doctor more cash.
Regardless of my feelings about health care, were I a doctor, I don’t believe I’d care to be portrayed as a money grubbing scoundrel simply out for the bucks, and then show up for a pep rally to support the man who called me a villain.
But that’s just me.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin says Halloween came early to the White House.