You may want to take a seat and a few deep breaths before reading this: Harry Reid, Senate Majority Leader, was quoted by the Las Vegas Review-Journal as saying that doctors should “stop whining about this and just take care of their patients.” What is the “this” that Senator Reid says physicians are whining about? A place at the table in pounding out the details of the impending healthcare reform.

Of course, good Senator Reid! Why would a physician have any business having a say in something like that? You lawyers and politicians have it all down pat, right? Or, as is more likely, you’re busy defending the interests of your frivolous lawsuit cronies, and all these pesky doctors are getting in the way of your plans. What would physicians know about what healthcare may need? After all, they and their staffs are just working in the trenches and on the front line every day, spending their entire lives healing people. How could that possibly compare to the wisdom of an attorney/politician and a Washington three-cocktail lunch?

“The doctors should stop whining about this and just take care of their patients.”

Certainly, Senator. We’ll just sit back and let you reduce the paltry sums from Medicare that already aren’t nearly enough to keep the doors open. It’s okay, we can perform surgery and treat patients on the street when the rent goes unpaid, no problem!

Pundits say that the election of 2008 was a clear sign that we wanted real change. This wasn’t what any of us had in mind.

Even with a majority, Democrat politicians still manage to spend more time fighting amongst themselves than getting something done. Rather than watch from the sidelines, doctors have stepped forward, observed their civic duty to be part of the process and solution, and strongly asked for a place at the table. This government has consistently shut physicians out. President Obama put on a dog and pony show a couple weeks ago, with hand-picked doctors who were willing to nod along. But that’s simply not the truth of the matter. Because we all want people to be well, most physicians don’t agree with what’s being proposed even a little bit. Why not?

The status quo makes the medical profession look like a very dim prospect to most people — even those who have already emerged from the huge burden of medical school. It’s downright daunting to see what doctors are being expected to do, and how little they’re expected to do it with. Now Senator Reid would have physicians take even less. Not just for Medicare patients, but also from the proposed government funded healthcare “insurance”. Not only would doctors be expected to wait several months for payment, to deal with questionable circumstances for existing Medicare patients, and often take less in reimbursement than the treatment costs in the first place – Senator Reid also wants to add another twelve million more people to that list, and have us treat them at a loss as well. Someone want to let us in on how we’re supposed to pay for any of this?

As it is, some practices have struggled to remain open, entire staffs continuing to work without pay for months while waiting for their state to get around to paying them. Nine months is a long time to wait for rent money, Senator Reid. And you want to expand that by another 12 million people? How about we convert your house into a clinic, then? Would that be alright with you Senator?

When we come to the table, offering to share front line expertise and apt minds, doctors and other healthcare professionals are told to “stop whining about this and just take care of patients.”
Back at ya, Senator. How about you stop whining about doctors being part of the solution, dig in deep and do YOUR job? You see, Senator, you and your peers haven’t managed to do anything about the problem. It’s just Business As Usual for your ilk. Meanwhile, we’ll be here in the trenches, trying to do the impossible with the meager funds Congress promises to pay… one day. They’ll pay one day.

Keep this up much longer and there won’t be any doctors. When the prospect of becoming a doctor seems so daunting that people abandon the profession, then we’ll have a real healthcare crisis, the likes of which modern medicine has never seen.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way, Senator Reid. You hold the majority now, so do your job. Please hurry. Those people you told to stop whining, they have patients to care for and lives to save.