Friday, September 04, 2009

The GOP's fake doctor council

How Obamacare opponents scam physicians and the public.

The NRCC's Physicians' Council is dishonest in two ways.

1. Quite obviously there is no Physicians' Council for Responsible Reform. Serving on a real council requires some commitment of time. You can't receive "special briefings" and provide "input to Republican members of Congress" if you're just a name on a page. The real purpose is to identify doctors riled up enough about Obamacare that they'll give money to the NRCC. (Good luck getting that face time with Minority Leader Boehner if you don't write a check.) Since June, the NRCC has raised more than $1.2 million this way.

2. Fred believes that had he never phoned back and requested his name be removed, it would have remained there. When I asked a call center employee whether that was true, I was told it was not. But the draft press release did imply, falsely, that the other physicians listed had already agreed to be on the council. Yet when I phoned another name on the list—an oncologist in Missouri whom I'll call Dr. Blank because, like Fred, he never asked to be included—I was told that Dr. Blank had not agreed to join. The NRCC is employing a variation on the old Georgetown dinner-party trick of leveraging Henry Kissinger by saying Alice Roosevelt Longworth is coming, then leveraging Alice Roosevelt Longworth by saying Henry Kissinger is coming. When committed on a large scale for a purpose weightier than social climbing, we call this fraud.

Read it all at Slate Magazine

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