Major surgeons' group chides Obama for recent statements

Looks like surgeons are starting to get a bit miffed with President Obama for his recent attacks on their profession and their integrity. The American College of Surgeons released late yesterday a press release titled Statement from the American College of Surgeons Regarding Recent Comments from President Obama. Key excerpts include the following:

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…

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.

…The President’s remarks are truly alarming and run the risk of damaging the all-important trust between surgeons and their patients.

Of course, the release then goes on to kiss up a bit to the President and offer him a facesaving exit by concluding in a fit of wishful thinking:

We assume that the President made these mistakes unintentionally, but we would urge him to have his facts correct before making another inflammatory and incorrect statement about surgeons and surgical care.

Nonetheless, the release does contain some surprisingly strong language to challenge the President’s attempts to demonize surgeons as greedy and not acting in their patients’ best interests and to tell people that they need the government to protect them against their doctors.

This would appear to be the first national medical organization to speak against the President. We’ll have to see if this is just a flash-in-the-pan, or if they and other organizations will belated wake up and see what’s coming down the pike – and even more if they actually commit their lobbying and money resources to protect the public in the upcoming fight against destroying our health care system.

But at least it’s encouraging that someone on the provider side has gotten fed up enough with the bullying to risk pushing back.