North Carolina Medical Society CEO Bob Seligson calls health reform “un-American”
I recently asked where the North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) stands on health reform. The American Medical Association recently endorsed the legislation working its way through the U.S. House. And the latest NCMS newsletter says that it has identified “several serious problems” with the bill, but did not dismiss the House legislation entirely.
But at a recent forum with industry executives Seligson apparently appealed to the basest emotions of those present by denouncing the length and complexity of the House legislation and by calling the bill “un-American” and “unfair to Americans.”
I was holding out some hope that the NCMS would take a measured approach and exhibit more maturity than Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina. I was hoping the doctors — or at least the few doctors that are still members of the NCMS — would endorse the overall bill while pointing out where the legislation is flawed. Instead, Seligson reverted to the old tactic of suggesting that health reform is socialistic and foreign.
I’ve read through the House bill. I can assure Seligson that while the legislation is lengthy, the margins are quite large and there is plenty of white space on each page. Most of the bill also uses small words and simple language. Seligson is a bright guy with plenty of attorneys on his payroll — I’m sure he can figure out most of the provisions.
As we’ve engaged in a health policy debate this year I have met many doctors disgusted with the NCMS. I’ve never completely understood that position, because the NCMS has always seemed pretty reasonable in many of its policies. Now I see. Seligson’s statements were pathetic and unacceptable. Maybe it has something to do with the $2 million the organization gets from Blue Cross. Or maybe Seligson really feels that protecting our most vulnerable citizens is not what Americans do.
Well, I disagree. And I am still hoping that the NCMS will release a more reasoned statement.