A few weeks ago I wrote an angry piece about my primary care physician having an anti-Obamacare quote by Ann Coulter posted on the wall of his exam room. My issue wasn't that the doctor had no right to his own political opinion because clearly, like all of us, he did. My primary complaint was that by not flaunting that opinion until the patient was in his inter-sanctum of the exam room, the patient was automatically at a power disadvantage. It is hard to aggressively rebut a man who literally has control over your life. My secondary objection was that the intelligence of anyone who quotes Ann Coulter must immediately be called into question. Is this guy too dumb to be practicing medicine?
Since that time I have had two additional visits with physicians - and both of those medical providers brought up the subject of Obamacare. (I suspect that when they see a fat, old white guy, they make an assumption that I must be a member of one of the Tea Party locals.) It is clear to me that many physicians have chosen undermine the Affordable Care Act by whining to their patients. That is a shameful and despicable way to behave - and politics at its sleaziest.
The first incident involved an opthamologist who remarked to me, during an eye exam, that soon Obama would have complete medical records on everyone. When I didn't take that bait, he changed the subject.
The second was made yesterday by a medical doctor who as he was removing a cyst from my shoulder blade. The young man (around 40-years-old) was of Middle Eastern descent with a name I couldn't pronounce. I was lying face-down on his exam/operating table, and he had numbed the spot with several extremely painful shots. The doctor had already made his incision when he said this (and I am quoting verbatim): "So, let's talk politics. How do you feel about Obamacare?"
There are so many ways to answer that question, but choices feel limited when the man doing the asking is digging into your back with a scalpel.
"Doctor," I moaned. "A few weeks ago I was in a doctor's exam room in this very building and found a quote by Ann Coulter on the wall."
"A quote?" He asked. "What did it say?"
"It was an anti-Obamacare quote, and I thought it was very inappropriate."
"Oh. Well I guess we are all entitled to our opinions."
I ignored that observation and it was quiet for a few minutes as he pulled two cysts out of my back.
Then the young doctor began to work at redeeming himself. "I think it would have been better if the plan covered everyone." I agreed with that and told him so. He continued, "I just wish he would have consulted us first." I ignored that remark knowing that all groups had been asked for input - even the medical community - which was a primary reason that law is so weak.
And then, as he was patching me up, my physician began to wax personal.
"My father," he said, "grew up poor in a Middle Eastern country. He was the first person in his family to go to college and he became a doctor. People from his village would drive four hours to visit him in the city for medical care. They were all very proud of him. There wasn't much money, so often they would pay him in produce or livestock." It turns out that eventually his father went on to become a professor of medicine at a university.
The Middle Eastern country was Iran. (I asked.)
I liked the family history and felt that went a long way to humanizing the physician who was groping for a way to defend his greedy stance toward Obamacare.
My wound appears to be healing well, and if there are no setbacks by the time of my follow-up in December, I will reward my doctor's fine efforts with a pair of fat hens or maybe a little goat. I'm going to call this new plan Rockycare!