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.


  1. Patti Ulirsch

    July 26, 2009 at 10:08 am

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t surprise me. As a patient and an advocate who has pursued quality, choice, and affordability in our health care maze, my experience has been that both the state and local medical societies have a history of exclusivity where they harass and chase out those practitioners (MD’s) who include a more holistic approach or who spend more time with a patient as opposed to documenting “procedures”. By their policies and actions the medical societies have limited patient choices and fflexibility as well (just like the insurance companies), so why should we be surprised at their negative take on real health reform? It threatens their narrow view of healthcare.

  2. […] appealed to the basest emotions of those present by denouncing the length and complexity of th click for more var _wh = ((document.location.protocol==’https:’) ? “https://sec1.woopra.com” : […]

  3. […] Read more here:  North Carolina Medical Society CEO Bob Seligson calls health reform “un-American” […]

  4. Adam Linker

    July 26, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I’m still a bit hopeful that Seligson got carried away while hanging out with Glaxo and Blue Cross. Of course he has some bones to pick with the legislation — everyone does. But his language is reminiscent of the days when the American Medical Association killed health reform by claiming that it was “socialized medicine.”

    The AMA wants to remain relevant and is engaging in a constructive debate. I hope the NCMS will follow suit.

  5. Tar Heel

    July 27, 2009 at 5:14 am

    The Lewin Group, a well-known health services consulting firm, has carried out studies comparing various financing alternatives in a number of states (e.g. California, Vermont, Maryland, Georgia), concluding that single-payer is the only way to provide universal coverage and still save money; however, the Lewin Group was bought last year by Ingenix, in turn owned by UnitedHealth, the second largest insurer in the country; is it any surprise that Lewin’s spokesperson before the Senate Finance Committee was recently silent on the advantages of single-payer?

  6. Kimberly

    July 27, 2009 at 7:39 am

    I completely agree with you, Adam. I believe that it is all about the money, if they think that they will lose money or be held accountable and have to provide excellence in service and product then they will do everything they can to fight Health Care Reform. They don’t want regulation, they don’t want Americans to have choices, they don’t want every citizen to have equal access to health care. They want the same old status quo that put them in power and made them rich. The middle class and poor outnumber the rich so I am hoping that our elected leaders will listen to the majority that has demanded Health Care Reform with a Public Health Plan option and will pass it and implement it this year. I saw an article on thinkprogress.org talking about Rep. Bachmann (R-MN) recent political event where she admits that they don’t want Health Care Reform to include a National Public Health Option because they know it will lower costs and provide better quality care.

  7. William

    July 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    The underlined blue “appealed” link in the story does not reference Seligson. Has the Raleigh N&O re-edited the linked story? Can anyone point me to a link with a quote from Seligson?

  8. AdamL

    July 28, 2009 at 9:51 am

    William — the underlined story does reference Seligson. The article appears a little screwy on the N&O website so it’s confusing.

    The story is on two pages. Once you read the first page scroll down past all of the white space and click on “Next Page”. The Seligson quotes are on the second page when it talks about the forum hosted by the North Carolina Chamber.

  9. […] The North Carolina Hospital Association has a seat on the board, although they have remained silent on what they think of this terrible insurance company legislation. And the North Carolina Medical Society has a spot. The NCMS, of course, gets money from Blue Cross and the NCMS CEO called the Affordable Care Act “un-American“. […]

Check Also

Context is key for understanding Insurance Commissioner’s Affordable Care Act comments

Many people were surprised to see a story ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

More than 10 pollution sources, including two Superfund sites, are within a mile of the new Aberdeen [...]

Report authors, advocates differ over possible side effects On Monday, the Congressional Budget Offi [...]

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Wednesday joined his GOP colleagues on Capitol Hill [...]

All eyes will be on North Carolina next week as partisan gerrymandering takes center stage, once aga [...]

The right-wing wallflowers of The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, with an almost palpable sense [...]

The post Hofeller: The GOP’s “Michelangelo of the gerrymander” appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

It’s going to happen eventually. It may not be right away and it may not look exactly like it ought [...]

You have to wonder: What would U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. tell that proud North Carolina ge [...]