Real Doctors, Not Lobbyists, Should be Talking to Congress
Posted Aug 27 2009 11:37pm
Physician and novelist Abraham Verghese is pleading for real doctors to to get involved in the discussions about health care reform, before the lobbyists get their way.
In an essay in The Wall Street Journal, he writes: “Before we are irretrievably sucked into Washington’s political maneuvering, we desperately need doctors and nurses to speak for the art of medicine. As William Osler, the father and spokesperson of modern medicine said a century ago: You are in this profession as a calling, not as a business; as a calling which exacts from you at every turn self-sacrifice, devotion, love and tenderness to your fellow-men. Once you get down to a purely business level, your influence is gone and the true light of your life is dimmed. You must work in the missionary sprit with a breadth of charity that raises you far above the petty jealousies of life.”
Verghese adds that: “Physicians like those should speak up for medicine, and argue in favor of paying doctors to spend time with their patients. They should fight against a payment system that has created perverse incentives that encourage unnecessary treatments. Let’s make it as lucrative to talk to the patient as it is to do to the patient.”
Obama, Verghese argues, is sounding more like a doctor than many of the people who call themselves physicians who are are arguing against reform.
It’s inspiring stuff. Hope we will hear more like it.