Who Would You Rather Have as Your Doctor: McCain or Obama?

So, here’s the question.  I watched Debate #2 last night between presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain.  Since my post a few days ago in which I stated that John McCain’s health care plan is deeply flawed (and later my analysis of the American Medical Association’s “Voice for the Uninsured” health care plan is McCain’s plan on steroids), I’ve been thinking which candidate I would want as my doctor if I had a life threatening illness and that candidate’s plan were put into place?  In this case, assume your medical bills under our current “system” would easily end up between $250,000 and $500,000 to save your life.

To be fair, I’ve also read Obama’s plan.  If you read my posts “Health Care For All Americans” you know that I have a pretty strong opinion about what we need in the United States to have a healthy (or healthier) America.  I find Obama’s plan much more palatable, but still inadequate to meet my criteria, because as all plans I have read to date, it is derived out of an economic model based on managing cost and not in setting constructive goals for optimization of our health, then restructuring the health care industry and the government’s participation to meet those goals.

When the question was posed in the debate about what the candidate would ask the American public to sacrifice to put our nation back on a positive track, my answer, regarding health care, would be, first the health care industry, second the Federal Government and third, the American attitude that being healthy is exclusively a personal choice and not one of “We the people,” the concept of caring for one’s neighbor as well as one’s self is the highest common good.

Ironically, it may the the last one that is the hardest to change, because it infects the business decisions by those managing corporate health care as well as molding public policy at all levels because of the pervasive mythology that universal access is, one, too expensive, and, two, creates a malicious socialism.  My advocacy is that neither one of these cultural myths are true.

So,  back to my original question: If you had a life-threatening illness that would place on you a debt ranging from $250,000 to $500,000 to save your life, who would you rather have as your doctor: Dr Obama implementing his health care plan, or Dr McCain, implementing his?

I invite your responses!

9 thoughts on “Who Would You Rather Have as Your Doctor: McCain or Obama?

  1. The “flaws” you have been pointing out reflect the talking points that those conservativies who want to repeal the ACA use on a regular basis. From my perspective it is a strategy of “death by a thousand cuts” or “one flaw invalidates the entire law” You have not presented what your overall position is on the ACA, or if you subsribe to the anti-ACA attacks demanding repeal that the Republicans in Congress have declared is their intention. So, what is your position on the ACA as it stands right now as the law of the land?

  2. Where did I say “scuttle” health care reform? Strawman argument.

    Larry, by not purchasing insurance under PPACA, would not be paying his fair share. The penalty for not purchasing insurance is far less than the cost of a health insurance premium (and will not be strictly enforced, if at all), and all pre-existing conditions are covered, which allows millions of Larrys to game the system and wait until getting sick before purchasing health ins. This raises the rates for compliant people who willingly fulfill the societal responsibility to contribute to the system.

    Furthermore, people who choose unhealthy lifestyle habits will be subsidized by people to choose healthy habits. There are reduced financial incentives to live a healthy life. The analogy would be that drivers with a lot of accidents or speeding tickets would pay the same premiums as you or I do (i.e. very good drivers) – how would you feel if your rates went up to subsidize those drivers who choose to drive recklessly? What financial incentive is there for unsafe drivers to drive more safely.

    So I ask, how do you propose to fix these issues with PPACA? These are just two examples of how PPACA will not control costs. Costs will be controlled more if people have more financial skin in the game, not less.

  3. There are people who currently choose not to purchase insurance or be compliant with their physician’s recommendations. There will always be a group (and most will be mutually exclusive, I suspect) who make those choices. It bears no logic, however, to scuttle health care reform and the ACA because a minority are behaving in a contradictory or non-compliant manner. It will take a few years to get that all settled out. As I have stated before, part of what must happen in the United States is a change in the culture and perception regarding not just the details of the practice of medicine in the broadest sense of that term, but also to shift the personal consciousness of the value of healthful living. This might take half a century to accomplish, but that is all the more reason to start now. We are nearly half a century behind the rest of the developed world on this matter. To deny the vast majority of those who don’t have insurance and want it because of the actions of a few, on a matter of such personal importance is faulty thinking in my opinion.

  4. And if Larry chooses not to purchase insurance, or be noncompliant with physician recommendations?

  5. The point is that on January 1 2014, Larry will have an entirely new avenue for accessing medical care. Let’s hope that Larry lives in a state that follows the federal law and implements both the health care exchanges and expands medicare. He will have a larger pool of insurance resources to choose from. But he will have something, whereas now, he has nothing. That is a significant step forward for America in rising to join the other wealthy nations who treat their citizens as valuable as a whole as they do as individuals. And who will pay? Larry’s going to pay for some of his health care and we are all going to help each other, including Larry, pay for our health care, finally honoring our national motto,

  6. e pluribus Unum
  7. , one out of many, where the many are as imortant as the one.

  8. So, what health insurance is Larry going to have, say, as of Jan 1, 2014, and who is paying for it?

  9. Although I agree to a point that the doctor should be the doctor and not the government, however, the U.S. medical system is so broken, everyone has to accept change in their practices. I want all Americans to have access to medical care on a level that other highly-developed nations have been able to achieve. Also I would remind you in the scenario Larry and his wife had no health insurance of any kind. They had no catastrophic insurance coverage. You stated in a previous reply you did not want the government in your medical office. But the inconvenient truth is that you don’t get to have the Larrys in your office now because he can’t afford even an office visit. What’s more important?

  10. I do not want any politician or govt official to be my doctor. I want the govt to stay out of the exam room.

    So now the cost of Larry’s hospitalization and aftercare is up to $500K? That’s what catastrophic health insurance is for. In fact, catastrophies are what insurance is supposed to be for – to protect a person against unforeseen and large financial losses.

  11. I do not see anything in the plan that protects the patient and health care industry to prevent fraud. With the use of computers there is no need for a physician, hospital or patient to file for money for claims that my be a double or dummy. Also, England and France are both complaining that the reason why their health care is not working or so expensive is because they have to give people from other countries health care even though they are not legal residents. How is the AMA going to address that. If we stop the fraud by insurance companies, health care providers and the patient, then we can save money on health care.

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