AP On The Trail Of The Obvious by Pat Conrad MD

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According to the Associated Press 6/2/14, “Doctors lean more left, political donations show.” No kidding.

Specific points:

  • The study focused on donations of $200 or more to presidential and congressional candidates or political organizations from 1991 through 2012. At the beginning, almost 3 percent of U.S. doctors made contributions, rising to almost 10 percent by the end of the study.
  • Females make up an increasing proportion of physicians, and they donate more often than men to Democrats.
  • “Surgeons, dominated by men, were the strongest GOP supporters while pediatricians — more than half of whom are women — were most likely to contribute to Democrats.”
  • From the mid-1990s the 75 percent of all MD contributions to the GOP had declined to 50 percent in 2011-12.
  • “Doctors’ right-leaning reputation dates back at least as far as 1965, when the American Medical Association strongly opposed the passage of Medicare, the study authors say.” (Pat: Whatever ‘right-leaning’ bona fides physicians thought they had earned, they tossed them when they started depending on government cash. The AMA, which had opposed, properly, the creation of Medicare/Medicaid, spun on its heel when the bill was passed, with its hand out).
  • “The AMA has since lost sway — less than one-third of U.S. physicians are members — but it remains the nation’s largest doctor group and a powerful lobbying presence in Washington. It also has moved more to the center, including voicing support for the Affordable Care Act.” (Pat: ObamaCare a ‘move to the center’?)

This may all be news to the AP, but I could have clued them in two decades ago. Almost half of my med school class was female; and most of them were of the nurturing-squishy-pro-HillaryCare type who approached policy challenges as emotional opportunities. Intentions trumped results. (On average the several female colleagues who went into surgery were delightfully more hard-nosed regarding world (not individual medical!) problem solving, especially after the second pitcher). But it wasn’t just the gals. Plenty of our male number also fell into the do-gooder trap, but they were less in number – maybe they were just trying to get in good with the gals?

Over the years med students and residents have been increasingly taught to be “responsible stewards of scarce medical resources.” That’s another way of saying that something – or someone – is community property. Three generations of physicians have been inculcated with this thinking, and a belief in the nobility of doing good with other people’s money. And we should not let the GOP off the hook (hello Medicare Part D!). Whether more doc-bucks are now going to the Democrats, this mess is a bipartisan one decades in the making. During that time, the composition of physicians has changed, along with whatever attitudinal shifts that entails, including an increased reliance on, even embrace of government cash.

But take Caesar’s coin and you get the legionnaires, in the form of SGR’s, ICD/CPT’s, EMR’s, audits, and all the rest. So we all bow and scrape, try to please the current ruler in order to protect our mortgages, and favor more good works to rationalize our subjugation. And that naturally, insidiously, moves us to favor the hand that feeds…we hope. Does the AP understand this?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  1 comment for “AP On The Trail Of The Obvious by Pat Conrad MD

  1. doug given
    June 11, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Lets just shoot ourselves in the foot and keep donating to the left wing who is killing us with all the bs.

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