Licensed To Serve

Quite a few people are talking about the Florida urologist who has decided to encourage his Obama-voting patients to seek their health care elsewhere. A person’s take on the story seems to depend on their position on ObamaCare — those who back it are outrageously outraged, while those who oppose it feel a sense of smug validation. (I’m firmly in the latter camp.)

But it also reminded me of a situation that arose in Georgia almost 25 years ago, when a small group of doctors in a certain specialty decided to prescribe their own form of “justice” against someone who they felt had done them great harm. It seems that in Brunswick, a certain attorney had earned a reputation as an exceptionally potent litigator in the field of medical malpractice, and whose very name made even the best of doctors’ blood pressure skyrocket. They’d even swap horror stories amongst themselves about this attorney’s practices.

Well, this attorney in question found herself pregnant. But when she sought out an obstetrician, not a one in town would take her on as a patient. Not one of them could see her strictly as a patient; they all saw a future legal antagonist who would be trying to bankrupt them.

And they extended that informal blackballing to include all lawyers, lawyers’ spouses, and employees of law firms. Not one doctor in town believed that they could treat them in good conscience, that they could set aside their own personal fears and concerns to give their undivided attention to their patients’ well-being.

I can’t seem to find any stories on how the situation resolved itself, but the principle demonstrated here is immutable: doctors are not slaves. They are not public servants. They can — and will — stand up for themselves and their colleagues’ best interests when pushed too far.

The study that shows many doctors will retire or quit when and if ObamaCare comes into full practice has been questioned, but it seems pretty clear that a large portion of the plan’s provisions are based on some hefty assumptions. One of them is that doctors, in order to continue practicing, will accept significant government controls and oversight on their decisions and actions and recommendations — largely from a financial standpoint.

Back in 1986, that assumption came to a brutal collision with reality, when the lawyers in a Georgia city got themselves kicked in the crotch by their cash cow. Now, in Florida, a doctor who specializes in those kinds of injuries is saying he’d rather not help the people who are trying to shove him into the milking machine.

This is not an aberration. This is an omen.

There will be many, many more Dr. Cassells if ObamaCare comes to pass.

I close with a philosophical question: of what use is a “free” good or service that you can’t access?

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