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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Doctors Need to Clean Up Their Act

Now I'm pissed.

The Michigan Househas passed a bill that will now go to the Senate, allowing Doctors and other health care providers to refuse to treat gay patients. The legislation protects them from being sued or diciplined for doing so on "moral" grounds. The Pope is not in the ground yet so I will refrain from talking about the bill's promoters, the Michican Catholic Conference, who say that the bill promotes "the constitutional right to religious freedom."

No, instead I'm gonna go after doctors, who really need to start taking a stand against crap like this. And a whole lot more. They whine about having exhorbitant malpractice rates, but do they do anything to police their own ranks and weed out the bad few who are responsible for most malpractice judgments (and hence the high rates)? No. They are decrying cuts in Medicare payments, and well they should, but they also play a large part in keeping the numbers of doctors trained in this country woefully low and way behind demand, and hence health care costs remain high. If we trained twice as many doctors, health care costs would drop like a rock. But that would benefit patients -- an not necessarily doctors.

Are they calling out the truly fruitcakian Pharmacists for Life who are trying to pass legislation across the country allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions based on "moral" grounds? No. Why aren't they coming together to say that they don't want to be second-guessed at the point of purchase by a bunch of bible-thumping wackos who ought to seek less controversial employment selling vacuum cleaners rather than sticking their meddling noses in other people's health care decisions? Enquiring minds want to know.

As a group physicians are enjoying the boon of the BushCo. tax cuts, and hence have stayed relatively quiet about the fallout from the social agenda that has allowed Fearless Leader to maintain power. Do they only come out of their holes to scream when it hits them in the pocketbook? What about a commitment to care, to the hippocratic oath, to the value of life that says you treat the friggin' patient no matter what their sexual orientation, and don't allow your profession to be used as a tool to further the politics of hate?

There is some evidence that as a group, Doctors are realizing that a party inimical to science is not in their best interests, and the ranks of physicians in the Democratic party have been steadily increasing. If the Schiavo case taught them nothing else, it should have illustrated to one and all that if they want to be free to practice their profession without government intervention for political gain, they better think twice about backing Fearless Leader and his henchmen.

But this Michigan business is just awful. And any doctor who doesn't have a problem with it ought to join said pharmacists in the aforementioned vacuum cleaner concession.