I've been light on the blogging for a few days because I've been in New York City assisting at a debate on the resolution above, which was held at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons.
I'm privileged to be on the Board of Directors of a new organization, the Benjamin Rush Society, whose mission includes promoting "the practice of medicine, free of government control,..." This year, a number of student-leaders are founding chapters at leading medical schools, and launching them with debates on the role of the government in health care.
At Columbia yesterday, two debaters spoke in favor of the resolution and two against. Each team had one physician and one non-physician (as you can see from the invitation).
The first speaker in favor of the resolution was a committed single-payer advocate, Dr. Oliver Fein of Cornell University. What impressed me about his presentation was that it was testimonial: He recited a litany of tragedies, resulting from his patients' inability to pay for health care because of some failure of health insurance. He emphasized the hassles that he and his office staff suffer through every day, as they struggle with health plans' obstacles to approve payment for care.
Dr. Fein would love nothing better than to get health insurers out of his face. And I agreed with him: He is an internist, not a specialist who usually delivers extremely expensive care. Like (too) many of his colleagues, Dr. Fein sees a desirable empty space in his practice without insurance companies, and believes that it has to be filled with government.
Why can't Dr. Fein see that the space is better off empty? Only the patient and the doctor should be in the practice, and consumer-driven reforms achieve that by returning health-care dollars to the patients who need them.
Local chapters of the BRS will be hosting three or four more debates this year in medical schools across the country. The BRS brings physicians and medical students a message of hope for a future of medicine free of undue government control. Please to to the website to sign up for news releases, so you don't miss an event when it happens at a medical school near you.