But it really concerns us when the likes of people such as Newt Gingrich and his nutty right-wing allies seem to want these horrendous laws imposed on everyone else in the country, thank you very much.
Let’s hope they've now finally rethought this wacky notion after last weekend’s absolutely devastating Dallas Morning News exposé about the sorry state of doctor disciplinary actions by the Texas State Medical Board.
Here’s a sample of the “heckuva’ job” the board’s been doing:
After its last meeting, in late August, the board announced decisions on four sex-related cases. Two involved doctors whom judges had already sentenced for crimes against children. Two involved psychiatrists found to have had affairs with adult patients – potentially sexual assault under Texas law, but they've not been charged.Again, no surprise that malpractice continues at skyrocketing levels in Texas. But meanwhile, for those who (willfully or otherwise) remain unconvinced of the Chucky-like nightmare that masquerades as “reform” in Texas…the American College of Emergency Physicians gave Texas a D+ or below ranking in several key areas including access to emergency care, and public health & injury prevention. The federal government recently designated 114 of the 254 counties in the Texas as primary-care shortage areas, and the state ranks 43rd out of 50 states in physicians per capita. Worse yet, the consumer group Texas Watch recently released a study showing that the average annual Medicare spending in the state increased 16% faster than the rest of the country since the state's anti-patient laws went into effect.
The child abusers were allowed to go on practicing medicine, though not with kids. The other two are working without restrictions.
It's all part of a broader pattern of tolerance for misconduct, a News analysis shows. Others who kept their licenses after the August meeting include two doctors convicted of lucrative federal crimes that put patients in harm's way; a neurosurgeon who operated on the wrong body part four times; a cardiologist found to have performed dozens of invasive procedures with little or no cause; and at least seven physicians linked to a death.
In all, 131 doctors were disciplined at the meeting. Only two had their licenses revoked, and then only because they quit contesting the cases against them. A handful of others were suspended or surrendered their licenses rather than fight.
The rest carry on with lesser penalties. For the neurosurgeon, it's 10 hours of continuing medical education. For one of the federal convicts, it's 22 hours plus passing a test on legal issues. For an ER doctor who was too drunk to intubate a patient – a patient who then died – it's therapy and urine tests.
So hear this, Texas “model of success” crowd! If a "successful" health care system is one that consistently lacks meaningful oversight over egregious physician misconduct, endangers patients and wipes out their rights, while at the same time doing nothing to lower costs or provide better access to care—then bully for you. But we’ll pass.