Among the issues raised by the doctors were the further insertion of bureaucracy between doctors and patients, the stripping of medicare, and the imposition of more regulations that will discourage doctor and exacerbate a doctor shortage. The last doctor to speak was Dr. Gina Loudon, who was the most exciting doctor speaker, befitting her role as radio personality. She pointed out that the GOP has not always been consistent in opposing an expansion of government which led her to work in the tea party movement, as opposed to mere Republicanism. (I agree.)
Many of the argument about health care proffered by speakers have been covered in some of my previous posts. But I also heard some new ideas for reforming health care and health insurance.
- Let credit card companies manage Health Savings Accounts (that use pre-tax dollars) because they are good at detecting fraud. Further, allowing HSAs to roll from year to year would encourage people to shop around and reduce health costs. As a current user of a flexible spending account for some of my health care, I like this idea. But, the current system pushes me to spend all my eligible funds in one year, leading to some wasteful spending.
- Get the states and the AMA out of nursing licensing. Doctors and hospitals are capable of judging the quality of nurses, this just restricts supply.
- Get the AMA out of limiting doctor licensing and medical school accreditation, because they have a vested interest in decreasing the supply of doctors.
I was very interested to hear Brian Bilbray's take on the law. He made great points. I know he has offended some purists who believe that nothing in the law should be retained because it is an affront to freedom. I agree, but politics is the art of the possible. Bilbray makes the very good point that right now, coverage for pre-existing conditions and children to age 26 are very popular parts of the legislation. But he made the point that those good ends could still be achieved without the monstrosity of so many new taxes and fees in the law. He hammered at the tax theme. He also pointed out that the law is a sop to to lawyers and insurance companies who wrote the law at the expense of the American people. His opponent, Scott Peters, is fully supportive of the law, so even if you challenge Bilbray for not being tough enough in standing against the law, his vote will be for repeal, but a Peters vote would not be. More prominent members of the tea party do not agree with my assessment of Bilbray, you can read the opinion here.
A few other thoughts. Chief Justice Roberts came in for more than a little criticism. His logic that the law is a tax, does not square with the Congressional language. That is legislating from the bench, as some speakers pointed out. All in all, it was an inspiring rally that is one small piece of the larger movement to limit government.
Frequent commenter arhooley also attended; she had this to say.
I just got back from it, and although it was great, I'd like to see one change at these Tea Party rallies: a secular or agnostic Tea Party speaker. Maybe even an ex-liberal. There are plenty of us out here, and we don't always feel we're being addressed or included in speeches laden with calls to religion. An added bonus is that we're not all preaching to the choir; we know how to talk to liberals about the supposed generosity of Obamacare and similar laws and movements.I agree about not preaching to the choir, but have to say that many of the doctors couched their discussion in non-partisan, less political terms.
Shane Atwell also blogged about the event. He reminded me of a point made by Popaditch that I forgot to include. We can't protect people from making bad economic choices. (He used the decision to buy a Chevy Volt as an example, to much laughter.) This is a big part of the leftist argument for government regulation of health care. If people were required to suffer the consequences of poor choices, like going bankrupt as a result of foregoing health care insurance, then they might make better choices.
The U-T's Craig Gustafson has an article about the event as well. He quotes the Scott Peters campaign's insistence that somehow Bilbray is a tea partyer now. For better or worse, that is patently untrue.