New Jerseyans, even before the “Massachusetts Miracle,” have been raising their voices against the health-care “reforms” offered by the Obama administration. Now that the Massachusetts Senate delegation is split between the parties for the first time since 1979, those voices have gotten louder.
Earlier this month, patients and companions visiting a large Essex County cardiology practice saw, on a waiting-room coffee table piled haphazardly with magazines, a photostatted form letter addressed to “Dear Senator/Representative _______” complaining about drastic cuts in reimbursement schedules that have already prompted a federal lawsuit. An Essex County dentist threw up his hands and sighed when asked half-jokingly whether he was prepared to become the “Motor Vehicle Agency” of dentistry and oral surgery. And a South Jersey pathologist has protested forcefully to anyone who will listen that “ObamaCare,” as President Barack Obama’s signature program is now known, is the “wrong prescription” for the country.
The angst clearly affects doctor and patient alike. Regular attenders of the meetings of the Morristown Tea Party repeatedly cite ObamaCare as one of their reasons for protesting. Many of these attenders suffer from some of the very medical conditions, like diabetes mellitus, that ObamaCare’s proponents say that their program would take better care of than does private fee-for-service medicine today. They recall Obama’s canard about doctors knowing that they make more money by cutting off feet with undisguised contempt. The typical concern is this: insurers might be difficult to deal with, but the government would be impossible.
Paul Mulshine, in his column in this morning’s Star-Ledger (Newark), understands these concerns. He also identifies the key weakness of the Republican position, and that of Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA): that in the last years of the Bush administration, as many Republicans as Democrats signed on to Obama-style healthcare reform. In fact, a Republican, Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, arguably invented the basic concepts that Obama and his advisers refined. And voters in Massachusetts repudiated that sort of reform–and for good reason, as The Wall Street Journal also demonstrated today.
Mainstream Republicans realize this now that they’re out of power. But the type of people who show up at the tea parties, if my observations are any indication, are fed up with the mainstream party after the Bush years.
This Examiner has observed the same, the only difference being that tea party activists know that any “third party” would be worse than futile, and are determined to agitate for reform in local town councils and planning boards, and in local Republican clubs. The South Jersey pathologist mentioned above will probably become part of that effort: in a brief interview with this Examiner last night, he said that he had already sent a request for information to a tea party organization (though he didn’t say which).
This article is part of the Healthcare-reform series.
Like this article? Want to be notified of more? Click Subscribe, above.