By  |  May 19, 2011 | 

I believe healthcare is a right, and that doctors should treat patents who need care. Period.

How about you?

So, it was with some amazement and disbelief that I listened to a physician address the SHM body last week in Dallas.  He is the leader of a large organization.  I am not a member of this association, and an unscientific poll taken by fellow blogger Brad Flansbaum suggests that the vast majority of HM11 attendees are not members either.

If my instincts are correct, this physician made no inroads with the SHM membership in Dallas.  And this is why:

We are young and idealistic.

We went into medicine to make a difference.

We experience the broken healthcare system and its impact on the most needy in our society on an hourly basis.

We believe that the system can change and we work to change it.

Right? Is that fair?

And, we do not believe in his false analogy…

Healthcare is not similar to the provision of other civic services as  described in his speech.  The gentleman in Tennessee who did not pay the bill to his municipal fire department and subsequently received no assistance from the fire fighters as they watched his house burn to the ground is not an example of the need for individual healthcare responsibility.

There is a greater civic duty to provide protection to the community at risk.

This false analogy would suggest that if that same gentleman were to contract H1N1 influenza after failing to pay his health insurance premium, it would be socially and morally acceptable to deny him the Tamiflu and a mask were he unable to pay out of pocket.

Just let it burn and allow the other houses to catch fire too!?

Am I missing something here?








  1. Laurie May 19, 2011 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    Actually I heard the same talk differently. I heard it as support for the healthcare reform idea that everyone must buy into the system. As a progressive liberal who also believes healthcare is a right in our affluent country, I expected to hear the usual conservative stuff from that large organization and yet here he was saying the status quo will not work. and that we cannot allow people to opt out because it defeats the purpose. I don’t think he was advocating that we don’t treat. I think his analogy only referred to the payment system. The majority of that talk would have gotten him thrown out of his large organization a few years ago. There is indeed hope!

  2. rachel May 19, 2011 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Michael! I don’t agree with everything you wrote here but I love this post and that you wrote it. I hate to say this but I think one of the main reasons few hospitalists are members of that organization is that the dues are high. That sort of excludes young docs with debt in their pockets. Also, unlike SHM, we don’t see that our dues there will go towards advocating for our profession. That may or may not be a correct assumption. in any case I totally agree with you that health care is a right, and I am severely proud of being part of a profession and an organization that will take care of anyone regardless of their insurance or financial status. But I do think there are those who could get insurance and don’t yet feel entitled to get whatever care they want and or need and get angry when they can’t get it. I don’t think its a majority of the uninsured but I think that segment exists.

  3. Craig Else May 19, 2011 at 9:00 pm - Reply

    I suspect that most people have no problem with healthcare being a right, but do have a problem with it being an unfettered right. Rights should not come without responsibilities, and our current system has disconnected these two. The discussion should be about defining personal healthcare obligations that may be required to allow society to provide healthcare to all, such as insurance payments, healthy lifestyles, or acceptance of limits on the care that we expect to receive.

  4. Rich May 19, 2011 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    This same group also reflexively opposes anything or anyone which seems to be competing, or threatening to compete with MD’s. Be it midlevels, complimentary medicine now, or Medicare then, if it has the remote possibility of affecting the docs wallet it is automatically bad.

  5. […] Skip to content HomeAbout the AuthorsAbout this Blog ← BURN! BURN! BURN! […]

Leave A Comment

About the Author:


Related Posts

By  | March 27, 2018 |  1
There is an orange tree in our backyard planted around the birth of our first child. It thrives 11 years later, providing a plentiful bounty of fruit each winter. Nearby, a mango tree was planted when our second daughter was born. That tree never made it; the roots didn’t take hold, and it was gone […]
By  | March 7, 2018 |  0
I am angry. Perhaps, you are too. As a physician, it is heart-wrenching to watch people unnecessarily die from gun violence. As a mom, it strikes fear in my heart to know that our nation’s children are not safe in our schools. I vividly remember being a resident on call in the ICU when I […]
By  | February 26, 2018 |  2
The sudden resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter got me to thinking. Let me say up front this post isn’t about politics. And by the time it gets uploaded, our national ten-minute news cycle will probably have moved on to some other world crisis or titillating disclosure and people will be saying, “Rob […]