Dr. Donald Palmisano of the Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights spoke at a recent Heritage Foundation Blogger’s Briefing on the topic of health care reform. His contention? To Dr. Palmisano, “liberty is the absence of coercion.” And the current health care reform plan is all about coercion.
Dr. Palmisano, a former president of the American Medical Association (AMA), briefly discussed some of the current problems with our health care system. He explained that under the current option, it is literally cheaper to just forgive co-pays of Medicare patients and illegal aliens, rather than pester the government about it, which apparently loses practices money. However, Dr. Palmisano noted, to forgive a co-pay is considered “defrauding the government,” because of how the government looks at its own unnecessary interventions. The problem with health care is too much government, not too little, Dr. Palmisano explained.
This was key a point to remember as he examined the realities behind the so-called “public option.” “You can call something a turtle, but if it’s really a zebra, it remains a zebra, right? The public option is a government option,” he argued. He went on to describe his own experiences working with government-run health care in Britain, and his experiences weren’t pretty. In fact, experiences with government-run health care only solidified Dr. Palmisano’s opinion that “the only way to save health care is… to allow people to negotiate among themselves.”
Dr. Palmisano brought the issue home for the American people, explaining the ramifications of the currently proposed health care bill for everyday citizens. “Do you want to make the decision with the doctor as trusted advisor, or do you want somebody who’s a bureaucrat in Washington having made this decision already before your child gets sick, and he’s never practiced medicine one day in his or her life?” he asked. “That’s really the issue right here.”
He also pointed out some disturbing issues with the way Congress is approaching the health care debate. “I think we need to remind Congress that this is for the people, and it’s not for them… [what] we need to do is not attack who bring disconfirming opinion or bring dissent, because in that might be the solution to the problem,” he said, explaining that perhaps dissenting opinions are necessary to create the best solutions to the health care problem. He went on, “We believe that we have a free market solution that could empower nations, rather than giving more government control.”
Dr. Palmisano explained that if the health care bill passes, it would be like shackling the art of medicine. “It doesn’t do any good if they move you to a larger cell and say they’re going to give you more food. If you’re innocent, you shouldn’t be in the cell at all,” Dr. Palmisano argued. Dr. Palmisano is the author of the recent On Leadership: Essential Principles for Success.