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Consensus: A Clever Way To Build One, Whether It Is Right Or Not

Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE


Barack Obama is inviting Americans to spend part of the holiday season talking
about health care — and report back to him.
He is encouraging average
Americans to host informal gatherings to brainstorm about how to improve the
U.S. system. Thomas
A. Daschle
will attend at least one and prepare a detailed report, complete
with video, to present to the next president.

These sessions, are to be held Dec. 15 to Dec. 31. One might be invited if
one made a contribution to President-elect Obama’s presidential campaign.

"In order for us to reform our health care system, we must first begin
reforming how government communicates with the American people," Obama said in a
statement yesterday. "These Health Care Community Discussions are a great way
for the American people to have a direct say in our health reform efforts."

President-elect Obama’s statement is absolutely compelling. I believe his
heart is in the right place. However, he is ignoring the other half of the
primary stakeholder equation, the practicing physicians.

By applying the high-tech tools and grass-roots activism that helped him
win the White
, Obama hopes to circumvent many of the traditionally powerful special
interests that have quashed previous health-care reform efforts.

I believe Tom
Daschle has decided on his legislative initiative already
. Max
Baucus (D) Montana has introduced an identical plan to congress

Senator Kennedy is next. This call for pseudo public involvement by Barack
Obama is a clever mechanism for claiming a CONSENSUS.

we want to do now is to move to a discussion across the country," Daschle said
in a speech yesterday in Denver
. "We want your exact ideas." By seeking
broad public input early in the process, the incoming administration hopes to
avoid some of the mistakes of President
's failed initiative 15 years ago, said Daschle, who is also Obama's
choice for secretary of health and human services.

"Once we get started, we have to stay focused. Let's finish it, let's not
put it down."

President-elect Obama’s healthcare plan is similar to President Clinton’s
failed plan. Tom Daschle spearheaded the Clinton plan in 1993. The Obama/Daschle
plan is a plan for socializing medicine as the solution to our dysfunctional
healthcare system. It is absolutely the wrong strategy and will make things

The strategy to get the Obama/Daschle healthcare plan past is clear. I
believe their consensus strategy will be so effective with the American people
it will overwhelm common sense. Even Harry and Louise can not

John Goodman of the
National Center for Policy Analysis
had a brilliant blog concerning
consensus building as it relates to medicine. This blog entry is a worthwhile

He begins by saying lots of Democrats have a health plan (Daschle, Baucus and
Kennedy). And the chattering class is exuberant over the idea that a
consensus is emerging on health reform. With respect to the twin problems of
cost and quality, just about everyone seems to hold these positions:”

Consensus Point No. 1:


Consensus Point No. 2:

Somebody else is at fault; and, not to put too hard an edge on it
and you may have to read between the lines to see this, but a reasonable
inference is that DOCTORS ARE AT FAULT.

Consensus Point No. 3:

Again, not to put too hard an edge on it and you may have to read
between the lines even more diligently, but once you do you will surely conclude

I am afraid Americans are being set up. The “consensus” is going to sweep a
defective healthcare policy through the door. The result will be a very
ineffective form of socialized medicine. The plan will not cure obesity, the
complications of chronic disease, or the abuses to the healthcare system by all
the stakeholders.

When the Obama/Daschle plan is passed we will really have problems. Patients
will not have freedom to choose. Access to medical care will be limited.
Physicians will have further restrictions on their ability to deliver medical
care they think necessary. The government will experience unbelievable cost

Tom Daschle’s plan does nothing to repair the dysfunction in the healthcare
system. Doing the right thing seems so easy to me. I can not understand why
politicians who do not understand medicine and the importance of physician
patient relationship do not want to listen to practicing physicians. Politicians
must use common sense. I hope President-elect Obama grasps the concept before it is to
late for the healthcare system.

opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and
mine alone.

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