Politics in the Exam Room
The Republican Party has weaponized healthcare. Whether the discussion revolves around affordable healthcare or access to women’s healthcare, the Republicans have spun a web of misinformation regarding cost, services available, and the laws surrounding different healthcare treatments. The body politic needs to step away from regulating a person's body.
On the surface using healthcare as a talking point appears benign, but when the talking points incite anger and spread disinformation it’s time to rethink how politicians use people, their morals, and the relationships they have with their doctors as pawns for their political wins. The attacks on the Affordable Care Act, proposed legislation which decreases access to Medicare, Medicaid, and women’s healthcare services by Republicans create undue burdens on patients and medical practitioners1. Republican legislators stance is they are helping their constituents from staggering healthcare costs, fighting for their interests against the big pharma and insurance companies and protecting the rights of innocent unborn babies. They use phrases that invoke strong feelings, focus on their base’s morals and fears. This form of politicking causes more harm than good for their constituents, the country, and for doctor-patient relationships.
Doctors are caught in the crosshair of legislation and comprehensive care for their patients. Laws that restrict a doctor from discussing treatment options, from referring patients to other providers, and invade the exam room, are dangerous. Limiting doctors’ abilities to discuss openly and thoroughly all treatment options a patient may have creates a gulf in the relationship between a patient and their doctor. Restrictions and availability of healthcare options including women’s healthcare services, affordable treatment options and protection from pre-existing conditions are immoral. People deserve to have access to all treatment options, be able to go to a doctor when needed, and not be discriminated against due to previous or ongoing health issues. Legislation which limits or revokes these protections cripples a nation.
A nation’s well-being relies on how well it treats its citizens. The lack of recognition regarding healthcare shows a callous indifference especially to those who are in lower socioeconomic classes. Those with lower socioeconomic standing use programs that are affordable. These programs include insurance policies that, because of the Affordable Care Act, don’t discriminate based on pre-existing conditions, have comprehensive women’s healthcare options, and allow doctors to treat their patients as needed.
Doctors relying on comprehensive healthcare options are not the enemy. They are carrying out the Hippocratic Oath. They pledged to do no harm. Giving comprehensive health information is a benevolent act. Politicians who wish to restrict a doctor’s conversation thereby damaging doctor-patient relationships violate the idea which they hold to be their truth; to protect people from harm. Harm does not lie in knowledge, harm lies in ignorance.
On The Issues, Every Political Leader on Every Issue, 2018. OnTheIssues.org.