"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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Friday, August 14, 2009

American College of Surgeons Respond to Obama's Diabetic Leg Amputation Claim

Do you remember when Obama said that doctors had financial incentives to allow diabetics to go untreated until they needed their feet amputated? Yeah, he said that during the Portsmouth town hall.

Here's a transcript, and the quote:

"All I'm saying is let's take the example of something like diabetes, one of—a disease that's skyrocketing, partly because of obesity, partly because it's not treated as effectively as it could be. Right now if we paid a family—if a family care physician works with his or her patient to help them lose weight, modify diet, monitors whether they're taking their medications in a timely fashion, they might get reimbursed a pittance. But if that same diabetic ends up getting their foot amputated, that's $30,000, $40,000, $50,000—immediately the surgeon is reimbursed. Well, why not make sure that we're also reimbursing the care that prevents the amputation, right? That will save us money."

Well, the American College of Surgeons didn't want to let that one slip by. They've released a statement (h/t newbusters.org).

"The American College of Surgeons is deeply disturbed over the uninformed public comments President Obama continues to make about the high-quality care provided by surgeons in the United States. When the President makes statements that are incorrect or not based in fact, we think he does a disservice to the American people at a time when they want clear, understandable facts about health care reform. We want to set the record straight.

"Yesterday during a town hall meeting, President Obama got his facts completely wrong. He stated that a surgeon gets paid $50,000 for a leg amputation when, in fact, Medicare pays a surgeon between $740 and $1,140 for a leg amputation. This payment also includes the evaluation of the patient on the day of the operation plus patient follow-up care that is provided for 90 days after the operation. Private insurers pay some variation of the Medicare reimbursement for this service.

"Three weeks ago, the President suggested that a surgeon’s decision to remove a child’s tonsils is based on the desire to make a lot of money. That remark was ill-informed and dangerous, and we were dismayed by this characterization of the work surgeons do. Surgeons make decisions about recommending operations based on what’s right for the patient."

Huh... Do they mean surgeons aren't simply harvesting limbs and tonsils for raw profit and "for the compost heaps of rich doctors’ organic gardens"?

Seriously though... Remarks such as these from Obama, I think, demonstrates two aspects of his character. First, it shows clearly Obama's naivete and arrogance as he suggests something so foolish, unresearched, and off-the-wall, but can still say it with such conviction and authority on a national, if not international, stage.

Secondly, it shows what a low opinion Obama has of other human beings. After all, he's suggesting that a highly trained, highly intelligent medical professional will intentionally allow an innocent patient, another human being, to suffer needlessly and then cripple him/her with an amputation for the made-up figure of $30 - $50,000. Does his line of thinking seem reasonable to anyone else?

Naivete, arrogance, and a despising of your fellow man... Is this a great combination for a president or what?
(Do you think we should report Obama's fishy comments to flag@whitehouse.gov?)

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