Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Obama, Doctors, Nurses, and Health Reform

These days Obama and his committee, Organizing for America (OFA), are busily rallying doctors and nurses to bolster his case for a government overhaul of health care.

This week Obama and OFA assembled 150 doctors – all wearing white coats, many passed out by the White House if doctors didn’t bring their own – to stand by the President in the Rose Garden. OFA has bought ads featuring doctors and nurses on national cable TV channels. And just yesterday, OFA sent out emails to the nation’s nurses asking for displays of support and telling they could order pins proclaiming “Another nurse for reform.” The thought behind this frenzied recruiting of doctors and nurses is that the public admires and trusts doctors and nurses.

This strategy has pratfalls, beartraps, and pitfalls.

In the first place, every doctor and nurse I know supports some form of reform, but not necessary the Obama brand featuring deeper federal intervention.

Secondly, in the October 4 WSJ, three former AMA presidents came out against a “costly and inefficient government overall, “ instead saying a giant step towards reform would be enabling individuals to buy policies in any state, not just the state in which they live.

- Thirdly, Obama’s challenge in not persuading the public that doctors and nurses support his plan, but convincing the 270 million Americans already covered, and happy with their coverage and their doctors and nurses, to back his plan.

Richard L. Reece is author, blogger, and health reform commentator. Dr. Reece’s latest book, Obama, Doctors, and Health Reform ( is available at,, and for $31.95 (hardcover), $21.95 (softcover), and $6.95 (electronic). For information on speaking fees and arrangements, call 860-395-1501.


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