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FIRST-PERSON: Obama & the real mercenary doctors

ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP)–With the debate over health care reform raging, President Obama recently expressed his concern over mercenary medical professionals.

During a July 22 primetime news conference designed to tout health care reform, the president said, “Right now, doctors a lot of times are forced to make decisions based on the fee payment schedule that’s out there.”

Continuing, he said, “You come in and you’ve got a bad sore throat, or your child has a bad sore throat or has repeated sore throats. The doctor may look at the reimbursement system and say to himself, ‘You know what? I make a lot more money if I take this kid’s tonsils out.'”

The president added: “Now, that may be the right thing to do, but I’d rather have that doctor making those decisions just based on whether you really need your kid’s tonsils out or whether it might make more sense just to change; maybe they have allergies. Maybe they have something else that would make a difference.”

According to the aforementioned statement, President Obama believes that a significant number of doctors are performing procedures that are not medically necessary and their motivation is greed.

“A lot of times,” according to the president, a physician is motivated by his or her financial prosperity and not the patient’s needs. The practice of mercenary medicine, according to the president, is helping to drive up health care cost. He wants it to stop.

Obama offered no evidence to support his claim that dollar-drunk docs are performing all manner of unnecessary medical procedures. There were no statistics supporting his claim that patients are mere prey for money-grubbing physicians; not even an actual anecdote was offered.

But let’s assume for the sake of argument the president is correct and mercenary medicine is indeed out of control in America. If so, then the one area he needs to set his sights on cleaning up first is those physicians that perform abortions.

Abortion is one of the most medically unnecessary procedures performed in America today.

Every study conducted over the past two decades has shown that around 85-90 percent plus of all abortions are carried out for the sake of convenience. There’s no rape or case of incest involved. A woman, or a couple, simple does not want an additional child, and so the baby is aborted.

Abortion in the vast majority of cases is nothing more than an elective medical procedure. And, like President Obama indicated in his prime-time news conference, it occurs “a lot of times” because the doctor performing the procedure stands to make money. And in America it is a lot of money.

Abortion has become a lucrative industry. Planned Parenthood, America’s largest abortion provider, raked in more than $1 billion dollars last year. And while Planned Parenthood is the largest peddler of elective abortions, it is by no means the only one. Needless to say, there is a lot of money available to greedy doctors willing to perform the unnecessary medical procedure.

So if President Obama is really serious about reforming health care by reducing the number of medically unnecessary procedures, he will certainly call for the end of elective abortions, right?

Surely he will denounce the practice of doctors performing unnecessary abortions just because they can make more money by doing so? Surely he will seek to keep health care costs down by insuring the practice is stopped. Right?

Don’t hold your breath. While the president has been laying low on the abortion issue during the most recent health care debate, he is a staunch supporter of abortion on demand.

According to a recent Baptist Press article, “President Obama — while largely avoiding the subject lately — was more direct when he was a candidate and told Planned Parenthood during a 2007 speech that abortion coverage is ‘at the center, the heart of the plan that I propose.’ He also said that ‘insurers are going to have to abide by the same rules in terms of providing comprehensive care, including reproductive care.'”

If the president has his way, not only will unnecessary, elective abortion on demand continue in America, but it will be underwritten by the government and will likely only increase.

If you still think President Obama is concerned about reforming health care so that greedy doctors will no longer be able to perform unnecessary medical procedures for profit, guess again.
Kelly Boggs is a weekly columnist for Baptist Press and editor of the Baptist Message (www.baptistmessage.com), newsjournal of the Louisiana Baptist Convention.

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  • Kelly Boggs