Two governorships have fallen to Republicans, if the headlines have it right.

Yet most of the pundits are saying this is not a sign of disenchantment with the Congress and the President, but only local politics.

I’m not sure I agree. I think it is a sign that the “ordinary” folks are worried, and that they trust a businessperson to run their state instead of someone who promises goodies to all while raising their taxes. Some of these disgruntled folks are indeed “Republicans” but a lot of them are what is called “Blue Dog Democrats”: Those who think liberalism of FDR is fine, but shun the hedonistic arrogant “liberals” who have taken over the Democratic party in the name of helping the “poor”.

The ordinary folks who try to keep their budget under control know full well that going into debt is not a good thing. Those who work hard and try to stay within a budget resent high tax policies that lead to businesses high tailing it out of town to non union and lower tax states.

For better or worse, although the Republican leadership is seen as a cross between Gordon Gekko and the gang who couldn’t shoot straight, nevertheless, they are willing to vote for a Republican governor because they figure his or her business ties mean that they know a bit about balancing a budget and attracting businesses.

All of this bodes ill for the Obama Health Care plan.

Ordinary people just don’t quite trust a bureaucracy, perhaps because most of us have had bad experiences with government workers. Then there is the worry that what will start small will soon balloon up and become the a monster entitlement. One pundit insisted that the “public option” would only cover 2 percent of the population: but few ordinary folks believe that it would stay that small.

As a doctor, I figure what is needed is to mandate tort reform (to cut down the amount of “Defensive medicine” I feel compelled to order, unneeded tests that increase health care costs). And a lot of the “uninsured” would be able to get health care if the government merely allowed physicians a tax write off for what they now donate as free care for their indigent patients.  Make Medicare easy to bill (do I really need to carry a palmpocket “cheat sheet” and look up two or three numbers for every patient I see?) and allow a decent reimbursement for my hard work.

Add a government program to cover catastrophic health care needs for those without insurance, and voila, you have it about right.

And what about all those “elective” tests that are part of normal preventive medicine? The dirty little secret is that few of them are very good, but heck, just arrange tax write offs for local HMO/clinics/ Walk in clinics to hold public “health care days”, which bill those with insurance but only ask for minimaol payment according to a sliding scale if one is uninsured. Cheaper and probably more efficient.

But a one trillion dollar government bureaucracy that will tell me how to practice medicine?  I already have the reimbursement fees for Medicare/medicaid so low that if I chose to see Medicare/Medicaid patients, I can’t afford to pay my liability insurance and rent.  No thanks.

All of this is not good news for the Health bill.

To make things worse, the Catholic bishops are in an uproar about the taxpayer money that will be spent to cover abortion (and presumably euthanasia in Oregon). After this story being on the blogs for a week, the Washington Post just noticed the problem, but a lot of Catholics are aware of the problem, and are aware that a government takeover could easily lead to a government mandate to Catholic hospitals to cover all authorized care, while the rules that protected the jobs of people of faith who refuse to be involved in deathmaking of all sorts were rescinded by the President last January.

So there are a lot of concerns out there, but the main one is a worry about the economy. People are worried about their jobs, and those of us who are retired are worried about inflation, that our hard earned dollars and retirement programs will disappear, similar to what happened to savings during the Carter administration.

You won’t see a lot of this in the papers, because the pundits tend to be upper class types. Their whole lives revolve around politics and party agendas. So you will hear all sorts-of interpretations of the election according to the “right/left” or more likely, “Democrat/Republican” meme. (I don’t think the press has a “left wing bias” as much as a class bias, and the class bias seems to be from lack of contact with ordinary folks who work hard, care for their families, and take responsibility for their lives.)

So in my opinion, this is not a “Republican” win as much as a win by the “Blue Dog” Democrats, and despite all the talk one hears about the problems of the Republican party, my opinion is that the real danger to the President is lack of input from the ordinary Democrats.

If the Democrats don’t want to lose in a landslide next year, maybe they need to get some input from Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, and some of the Democratic governors who know more about the daily struggles and concerns of ordinary folks.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her blog is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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