Monica Wehby is the star of a new commercial presented by rethinkreform.com.
Wehby claims to be a Doctor, and she actually is one. Bingo, there is one truth. Monica claims to oppose the health reform plan as currently constituted. Bingo, I guess that is true. She would have no reason to lie, right?
Monica Wehby according to her website graduated med school 21 years ago. She is age 47, and is currently practicing neurosurgery in Portland, Oregon. I’m not telling any secrets here, it’s on the ‘net, look it up. She was elected President of the Oregon Medical Association in 2007. Which brings up another question, does she speak for the OMA in her commercial? Well, no, she does not claim to be speaking for them. She speaks as one person, who happens to be a doctor. It is worth noting that the national association of Doctors, the AMA, disagrees with her. They support the health reform bill as written. No mention of that in the commercial, it’s an inconvenient truth. But it’s a free country, leaving out an important fact is not a lie. It’s just unfortunate that some people watching this commercial may get the wrong impression and think that Wehby is speaking for other doctors.
Who presented this ad and paid for it? Hint: not Dr. Wehby. There is one line down at the bottom of the website, which says “Employment Policy Institute”. What the hell is that? Well, it’s a front group operated by a Washington Lobbyist named Richard Berman. Berman runs several industry funded organizations such as the Center for Consumer Freedom and the Center for Union Facts. His front groups have run numerous media campaigns downplaying the dangers of obesity, smoking, mad cow disease, drunk driving, etc. 60 minutes has called Berman the “booze and food industries’ weapon of mass destruction.” His nickname, in which he takes great pride, is “Dr. Evil.” Funny stuff. A guy fronting for obesity and smoking finds a conservative medical professional to help keep the world safe for health insurers. Weird fact: Berman’s son is singer-songwriter David Berman of the indie rock band “Silver Jews.” Richard Berman and his son have been estranged since 2006, largely due to David’s disapproval of his father’s public relations work. At this time I am not able to tell you where the money comes from for this commercial. The corporate donors did not make it easy to find out which health insurers or big business Republicans handed the money over. Note: if you are more talented at ‘net research than I, please dig in and find out! Did you get paid for the ad, Dr. Wehby, or did you engage in it for political reasons? Or is it a pure matter of conscience? One thing is for sure: the money interests that Berman is fronting for have got deep pockets- In the past two hours I have seen this same crappy commercial three times. And the half truths and omissions taste more sour with each viewing.
Dr. Wehby then argues that heath reform will not benefit the end consumer, the patient. She leaves out the fact that the health bill would cover many millions of Americans who currently have no health insurance. How many of your pediatric neurosurgery patients pay your tab out of pocket, Monica? None, I bet. Is she under the impression that everybody in the USA has health insurance now? She’s a Doctor, she can’t be that dumb. She then finishes up by saying that the health bill is too long and that it can’t be an improvement over what we have now. How could it be made better? Uh, she does not say anything about that. She conveniently runs out of time at the end of the commercial. Gee Dr. Wehby, I would love to come up with a few million to get you to do a follow up ad wherein you could give your thoughts on how to actually improve the ragtag, cobbled- together, blend of socialism, capitalism, and just plain crazy US health system, which spends more money than any other nation but achieves poorer outcomes than many other nations that spend less. But unfortunately, not being a Lobbyist who runs a front group for big business Republicans and health insurers, I don’t have the money to squeeze more “truth” out of you.
Unbelievable. Can’t we do better than this?