Ross Mackenzie

So tell me again why you aren't a doctor.

Because my father - an Edinburgh-trained general physician and surgeon - urged his son against it. He foresaw the day, now rushing at us, when the federal government would be setting rates, approving procedures, and broadly regulating the medical profession.

President Obama and congressional Democrats want to extend medical insurance coverage to everyone, drive down health-care costs, and raise the quality of care. They're talking about a "public option" plan to show the way by competing with private-sector insurance plans. What's the matter with that?

All three cannot be done. And the "public option" - the government plan - inevitably will become the only option, hence the only plan.

But the president isn't saying that. In his remarks to the American Medical Association, he told the nation's doctors, "The public option is not your enemy; it is your friend."

Sort of like, I'm from the government, and I'm here to help you. Thoreau had it right when he wrote, "If I knew for a certainty that a man were coming to my door with the conscious purpose of doing me good, I would run for my life."

At the AMA, the president talked about people like you, who dismiss his proposals as "socialized medicine" or nationalized care. The hour for reform and change is at hand. Instead of being part of the problem, why don't you become part of the solution - and join the debate?

OK. For openers, try on these quotes:

1) Liberal economics columnist Robert Samuelson: "It's hard to know whether President Obama's health care 'reform' is naive, hypocritical, or simply dishonest. Probably all three. The president keeps saying it's imperative to control runaway health spending. He's right. The trouble is that what's being promoted as health care 'reform' almost certainly won't suppress spending and, quite probably, will do the opposite."

2) The conservative Heritage Foundation's Robert Moffit, on the president's AMA speech: "He reiterated the key elements of his health policy agenda: a new government-run health plan to compete with private health plans in a government-run national health insurance exchange. It would include a government mandate on employers to offer government-approved coverage, as well as a government mandate on individuals to buy government-approved insurance."

Ross Mackenzie

Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.

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