Thursday, July 23, 2009

I Think Michelle Malkin Fantasizes During Presidential News Conferences

While I don't think the news conference was very informative or very useful there are some reactions that just don't make sense. It is almost as if they watch the news conference on television but imagine what is being spoken.

Michelle Malkin describes the evening as fear-mongering. She writes, "Uhhhhhh, demonizing doctors doesn’t exactly seem the best way to shore up support for the ailing, failing government health care takeover." Fear-mongering. demonizing doctors. What was she watching. It can't be news to her that doctors are susceptible to incentives. Malkin does not provide specifics when she makes claims such as fear-mongerer, much like the president was very weak on specifics last night. I can only assume that she was referring to this section of the news conference:
"Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that's out there. So if they're looking and you come in and you've got a bad sore throat or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats, 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."
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.

So -- so part of what we want do is to free doctors, patients, hospitals to make decisions based on what's best for patient care. And that's the whole idea behind Mayo. That's the whole idea behind the Cleveland Clinic."
This is where President Obama was the most expansive regarding doctors but is this fear-mongering? Perhaps the President could have quoted George Bernard Shaw's The Doctor Dilemma and avoided this jab from Malkin. Shaw wrote:
"That any sane nation, having observed that you could provide for the supply of bread by giving bakers a pecuniary interest in baking for you, should go on to give a surgeon a pecuniary interest in cutting off your leg, is enough to make one despair..."
Much more colorful and entertaining and it makes the same point. The Progressive Policy Institute reported last year that "$700 billion is wasted each year on unnecessary tests and procedures that do not improve patient outcome." To call out behavior that is wrong doesn't equate to Demonization. Sphere: Related Content

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