In case you thought that now that HealthCare.gov is mostly fixed, conservatives might be winding down the sabotage campaign and reluctantly accepting the reality of Obamacare: Not so much.
Here’s a fascinating report from TPM on the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, a group of right-wing doctors that counts Sen. Rand Paul among its members.
More than half of AAPS’s members have stopped accepting Medicaid—not an idea Paul supports, by the way—and a smaller number is going further: They’re refusing to accept even private insurance—under the idea, I guess, that the entire private insurance market is now “tainted” by Obamacare. Instead, patients will have to pay out of pocket, then try to get reimbursed by their insurers on their own. (Maybe they could pay in chickens, instead?)
“Coercion, central planning, socialism if you will does not work. It kills the incentive to work. It misallocates all of the resources so that everybody is worse off than they would have been if they had just allowed free men and women to make their own decisions,” Jane Orient, a doctor with the group, told TPM. “The remedy is for patients and physicians is to decline to participate in the system, go for a true free-market alternative.”
Orient said she fears that the federal government could “outlaw private practice, just like they did in Canada.”
But maybe this kind of over-heated rhetoric isn’t so surprising from a group with AAPS’s record.
Back in 2009, one member of the group, Florida neurosurgeon Dr. David McKalip, withdrew temporarily from the healthcare debate after being caught forwarding a racist email that depicted President Obama as a witch doctor. Within months, McKalip had rejoined the battle, reporting back to fellow conservatives from an AAPS meeting that featured Reps. Paul Broun and Tom Price, among others.
On one level, though, this is encouraging for supporters of Obamacare. The more the opposition centers around fringe efforts like this, and less around actual legislative efforts to undermine, defund or repeal the law, the clearer it becomes who’s winning.