TULSA knee and hip surgeon Norman Dunitz was in the audience for President Barack Obama’s health care speech to the American Medical Association on Monday. It would be difficult to improve on Dr. Dunitz’s diagnosis of the president’s plans.
"He’s a wonderful speaker, and he told us what we want to hear,” Dunitz told The Washington Post afterward. "The question isn’t what he said but what he’s going to do.” The doctor elaborated: "He has a reputation of shifting sides — there is a lot of doubt after you saw what went on with the stimulus and the auto industry. If he comes up with a strict single-payer program, that could create chaos and medical error.” During the next few weeks, technical/medical terms, program models and dollar figures will be discussed as Obama and his allies try to move health care reform legislation through Congress. No issue will be more pivotal in the debate than those Dr. Dunitz identified: whether an Obama-backed plan includes the roots for a government-run health care system. Obama certainly tried to allay concerns Monday in Chicago. At times the AMA crowd cheered. Other times not; some of the docs booed when he refused to commit to caps on malpractice awards. Still, the president knew he was talking to the physicians and to the country at large when he defended his proposal against critics who claim it’s the foundation for the single-payer system Dunitz is worried about — one that would make U.S.