I did not envision that we could get this far down the road toward fundamental health care reform with so little input in the public discourse from physicians. Sure, the AMA has come out in favor of the House bill that includes public option. But where are voices of individual docs whose front line experience with the impediments to delivering quality health care offer invaluable instruction?
My personal experience has been that there remains a strongly conservative core segment of physicians who are wary of reform for temperamental and financial reasons (not to paint with too broad a brush, but a group that is anchored in the high-dollar medical specialties). But I’ve seen over the last 20 years or so, an equally strong segment emerge from the physician ranks: primary care docs who struggle to reconcile the demands of the modern health care financial infrastructure with their calling to make people well (or better yet, keep them healthy).
So where are the family practice docs, the public health docs, the rural practitioners, those who staff the inner city clinics? I’m not suggesting they’re purposely sitting on the sidelines, but they do seem to have been sidelined in this debate. Can we hear more from them? Have I just missed it?
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.