The (White) House Call

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I heard it from my doctor a few weeks ago. Now we're hearing it from doctors across the nation- health care reform must happen, and happen soon.

Dozens of doctors stood on the White House lawn to hear President Obama urge them to "fan out across the country" and work for health care reform.

"Nobody has more credibility with the American people on this issue than you do," Obama said. "And so if you're willing to speak out strongly on behalf of the things you care about and what you see each and every day as you're serving your patients all across the country, I'm confident we are going to get health reform passed this year."

150 doctors from all 50 states were invited to the White House event. Prompting some Republican leaders to cry foul.

Rep. Tom Price, a physician, and Dr. Donald Palmisano, former American Medical Association president, said in a conference call that physician support for the Democrats' proposals wasn't as widespread as Monday's event implied.

"We're very concerned that a handpicked group of physicians were applauding a government takeover of health care," Price said. "A random sampling (of doctors) wouldn't show quite so many people applauding."

However, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, 62-percent of physicians support a reform plan that incorporates both public and private funding.

To further the president's point, Senate Democrats released a series of videos today with a few of the country's pro-health care reform doctors:

The American Medical Association has also come out in favor of health care reform.

So why are we all still fighting about it? Don't you usually listen to your doctor?

No, instead of honest debate about the issues we heard about how some doctors in the White House news conference forgot their white lab coats. Instead of talking about the AMA's stance or the stats from the New England Journal of Medicine, we heard that the White House was insulting our intelligence with the big "Halloween" on the lawn.

All because the ones who forgot their lab coats were given some. It's not like they gave them firefighter coats and asked them to fake like they were something they weren't. I mean, this may be shocking...but it turns out a doctor in a suit is still a doctor.

47 million people uninsured in this country and it's come down to who remembered to bring their lab coat instead of debate about policy.

As it turns out, not all Republicans are concerned with lab coats. Today California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced he is backing the President's plan.

"Our principal goals -- slowing the growth in costs, enhancing the quality of care delivered, improving the lives of individuals, and helping to ensure a strong economic recovery -- are the same goals that the president is trying to achieve," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
"I appreciate his partnership with the states and encourage our colleagues on both sides of the political aisle at the national level to move forward and accomplish these vital goals for the American people."

According to Reuters, no Republicans in Congress currently back the Finance Committee proposal to overhaul the $2.5 trillion U.S. healthcare system, or any other put forward by Democrats.

At least my doctor supports it, telling me "It's inevitable."

We'll see just how inevitable it is as the Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote within days and a final bill is put before lawmakers.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain Blog, where she does not have a white lab coat.

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