Rapid City Doctor Thinks Obamacare Wonderful, Not Sure About Details

Medical doctors are, in my world, a type of scientist. The primary difference between a doctor and a scientist would be that doctors must live in the real world of applied science–dealing with real people and real problems rather than dealing primarily with theory and hypothesis.

Then again, my world may be off a bit. Here is an article in the Black Hills Pioneer in which a practicing medical doctor explains why the health care bill is such a good thing for all of us:

I think it’s absolutely wonderful that we have passed something to help more people access affordable healthcare,” [Dr. Nancy] Babbitt said. “I don’t think the bill in its present state is perfect. There is definitely room for improvement but it’s a start.”

I’m not a doctor (nor do I play one on TV) but I am a student of language. Let’s look at some language. “I think” is not I know, I believe, I am certain or any one of several other constructs which means I am fully supporting this. Then there is “passed something.” While that one is ripe for lowbrow medical humor, it is also nebulous and non-helpful: “something” is little better than “anything” or “nothing.”

Then we get back to thinking with “I don’t think . . . is perfect” and “room for improvement.” Both of these are softening or modifying terms; the speaker is backing down from full support again.

“We went to promote healthcare reform and meet with President Barack Obama at the White House,” Babbitt said. “I think it was affective because now we have some type of healthcare bill…we showed that many doctors in the United States do support it.”

There’s that “I think” again. While “affective” may simply be a typo, I find it most interesting that instead of effective, the word which was selected is the one which means Influenced by or resulting from the emotions. Hmm. Then there is the non-specificity of “some type” and “many doctors.”

“Unfortunately, I have Medicare patients who are concerned they’re going to lose their quality healthcare,” she said. “Many of them are getting their misinformation on television or politicians who are against it. They are trying to make it a political issue rather than the moral economic issue that it is.”

Babbitt added that there is nothing in the bill that indicates cutting Medicare in any way or anything that will change how she delivers care to her patients.

If she has Medicare patients who are concerned about losing “quality healthcare” then perhaps she should be thinking that the Medicare cuts included in the bill (to attempt to make it pass CBO muster) might have some negative influence on her patients. If that second paragraph above (where she says there is “nothing in the bill” that will change how she practices) is true, then it appears that she truly is ignorant of the direct Medicare cuts and a number of other provisions.

I like the beautiful use of the term “misinformation.” It is so much nicer than calling many of one’s patients misinformed or even ignorant because they are getting information from sources other than Dr. Babbitt. Then there is the statement regarding healthcare being a “moral economic issue.” I believe I should agree with her there. The attempt by government to set itself up as moral arbiter of health care standards without regard to personal responsibility in that area is already having substantial negative economic impact as companies determine how best to issue financial declarations in conformance with government regulation.

“Again, I think there are people arguing against reform that somehow want to protect profits for large corporations rather than protect cost control of healthcare for small businesses,” Babbitt said. “Small businesses will greatly benefit from the healthcare reform which is a huge issue in South Dakota.”

Leaving aside whether access to healthcare is an issue for South Dakota businesses of any size, let us consider for a moment how she juxtaposes “large corporations” and “small businesses” when she’s in the “I think” mode.  Many small businesses are also corporations, but let’s make sure we use the most heavily charged term for the bad guys, shall we? Does she understand that the primary difference between a small business and a large business is the number of people it employs? Does she understand that nearly all businesses, of whatever size, can only continue to employ people if they continue to be profitable? Apparently not.

“There is no other industrialized nation that has profit before patient care,” she said. “And that is not going to change in this healthcare bill – we are the only nation. But in the same way, when Medicare was presented, many thought it would change our country into a socialized country. Medicare has turned out to be an excellent program especially for people with disabilities and senior citizens.”

Does she even realize that the reason we are an “industrialized nation” is that we have this thing called capitalism–heavily based on the concept of providing value for goods and services which results in the provider of those goods and services being profitable in his/her business dealings? Then there is a bit of a non sequitor when the good doctor goes from the scary phrase “socialized country” into “excellent program.” What? So, is she saying that we are but it doesn’t matter or that we aren’t and it doesn’t matter? I’m confused. Oh, and if Medicare is such an excellent program, how come it has such waste, fraud and abuse that the President has been talking about it for months now?

Enough. I’m tired–and you probably are, too.