Saturday, June 20, 2009

Obama's Chicago doctor supports single-payer


What do you call a man who ignores his doctor's advice?

Barack Obama.

So reports Forbes, which notes that Dr. David Scheiner, the Hyde Park physician who was Obama's internist from 1987 until after the election, is critical of the president's stance on health-care reform.

Forbes, naturally, tried to put as right-wing a spin on Scheiner's criticisms as possible ("Obama's Doctor Knocks ObamaCare"), but what it comes down to is that Scheiner supports single-payer health care.
"'He doesn't see all the pain, it's so tragic out here,' [Scheiner] says. 'Obama's wonderful, but on this one I'm not sure if he's getting the right input.'

"What should the president be focused on? Scheiner thinks that a good health reform would be 'Medicare for all,' a single-payer system where the government would cover everyone and pay for it by cutting out waste in the system. 'A neurosurgeon gets paid $20,000 for cutting into the neck of my patient. Have him get paid $1 million a year instead of $2 million or $3 million. He won't starve,' Scheiner says.

"Scheiner thinks that Obama's 'public plan' reform doesn't go far enough. He supports the idea of that option for people who don't like or can't afford their HMO. But he worries that it will be watered down or not happen at all. "'It's nonsense that the private insurance companies need to be protected,' he says. 'Why? Because they've done such a good job?'

Scheiner actually says he didn't discuss health policy with Obama, but it seems unlikely the latter was unaware of his doctor's views. Scheiner's medical partner, Dr. Quentin Young, founded Physicians for for a National Health Program.

Dr. Scheiner, it's not too late to write your patient a prescription for fixing health-care's ills.

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